FULL NAME: Wahab Riaz
BORN: June, 18, 1985, LAHORE, PAKISTAN
CURRENT AGE: 35 years
ROLE: Bowler/Left-Arm Fast, Right-Handed Batsman
Wahab Riaz, a left-arm fast bowler, has the pace to trouble the best, but hasn’t always combined it with consistency. He has benefited from Pakistan’s chronic poor luck with fast bowlers: with Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif missing more than they play and Umar Gul injury-prone, Riaz came into national reckoning earlier than he might have reasonably expected. Since then he has had some good moments in international cricket, but consistency hasn’t been his strongest suit.
On his Test debut, against England at The Oval in 2010, Riaz took 5 for 63, becoming the ninth Pakistan bowler to take five on debut. Among his victims were Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen. However, he had poor tours of New Zealand and West Indies in 2011, and was dropped from the Test side.
As an ODI bowler he has been a wicket-taker but has also leaked plenty of runs. His ODI best came in a big game, when he took 5 for 46 against India in the World Cup semi-final in Mohali – among his wickets were Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni – but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat. Since then he has been in the mix in Pakistan’s ODI side, even though his economy rate continues to be a concern.
Wahab was seriously engaged with cricket in the year 2000 but made his domestic debut during the 2001-02 season. He was also part of the Pakistan A and Pakistan U19 sides.
Wahab made his test debut against England during 2010 series and took a fifer in the first innings of that match. After that, he went to South Africa tour and took major wickets of Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith. However, he suffered an injury for which he remained out of the team.
Rise to Glory
Riaz’s performance against India in the semi-final match of 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was a major turning point in his career. He took a fifer in that match. Though Pakistan lost that match, Wahab came into the limelight and was selected for the subsequent tour of South Africa.
Wahab took wickets in almost all matches he played but his economy rate was an issue. This was the reason that he didn’t play for Pakistan on a regular basis. For instance, in 2016, he conceded 110 runs in his quota of 10 overs, which are the second worst figures ever in ODIs.
In the 2016 Pakistan Super League, Wahab Riaz was bought by Peshawar Zalmi for $140,000. In 2017 also, he was retained by Peshawar, won the tournament and Riaz ended as the leading wicket taker with 30 wickets in 19 matches.
Wahab’s spell against Shane Watson during the quarter final match of 2015 ICC cricket world cup, was very applauded. Kevin Pietersen described that as the “Best spell of bowling by a foreigner on Aussie soil for years”. Brian Lara also tweeted “I want to meet with this Riaz guy”.