April 12, 2014

'I love to take batsmen on'

Wahab Riaz, the Pakistan left-arm quick, on the pain of missing out on a ten-for, and his love for numbers and batting

Talk us through your Test debut - taking five wickets against England.
It was a dream come true, because I was making a comeback after two years and I wanted to prove myself. I couldn't sleep the night before. I was thinking, "I need to get a five-wicket haul". And it happened.

With your last game for Pakistan coming in November last year, where do you see your international career now?
I think I have a long and very successful career ahead of me. I'm working harder to come back with a bang.

You came so close to taking all ten wickets in an innings with your 9 for 59 for Lahore Shalimar. Tell us about that.
I was very frustrated. I had already got eight wickets and I had been bowling for two and a half hours continuously. Suddenly Aizaz Cheema bowled a guy out and I was like, that's the end of the world for me! I had worked so hard for it.

Are you a big stats man?
Yes, I always take notice of the stats. Even while bowling in domestic games, I remember my stats.

What has been the highlight of your career?
My 5 for 46 in the 2011 World Cup semi-final against India.

What has been the best ball you have ever bowled?
The yorker to Yuvraj Singh in that game.

That delivery was quick, 92mph. What is your secret to bowling fast?
My approach towards the game is this: I don't like to be hit for boundaries by the batsman and my aggression really pumps me up to bowl fast. I love to take the batsman on.

You strike me as a guy who loves your batting. Am I right?
I love my batting a lot. I love to strike the ball hard and always want to play my shots. I'm working hard on it and I want to perform consistently with the bat.

Who have you found the toughest batsman to bowl at?
AB de Villiers. He is a guy with a lot of shots in him. He has the ability to play extraordinary strokes.

Who is the best Pakistani quick bowler to have played the game?
Wasim Akram. He is the king of bowling.

At what point did you know you were good enough to have a career in cricket?
It was after playing five years of first-class cricket. My team-mates and friends had belief in me, and I was bowling in every difficult situation.

Who is the funniest man in cricket?
Raza Hasan.

Which one rule in cricket would you love to change?
We should have five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in ODIs.

Give us the name of a Pakistani youngster to look out for, who is destined to have a big future.
Umar Amin. He is very talented and has the ability to be a world-class player.

Tell us one thing we don't know about you.
I love to go out with my friends every other day.