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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohsin on April 14, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    Wahab Riaz is a very good bowler but seems moody. I think he has all the abilities but lacks desire to go to the top; if he doesn't switch gears now then it will be difficult for him to find a permanent position as a strike bowler in Pakistan, in the presence of Gul, Irfan, Junaid, Telha, and Amir returning back on the other hand you can never rule out Sami making a comeback also.

  • Danish on April 13, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    wahab riaz was my favorite until he failed continuously for so many matches in a row.He never ever developed any kind of swing.He bats well but didnt work hard on it.He bowls fast but thats about it too. Pakistan has so many bowlers who can bowl over 140kph.Actually all of the fast bowlers can bowl at atleast 140.So his speed isnt special.Its not like he bowls at 150.if that was the case, he surely would've been special. U guys didnt talk about the 93 he conceded.or may be u didnt wanna bring that up but trust me, we all remember that too.Anyways, i dont see any future for him in pakistan.He should go and play county cricket.That'll be the best thing for him.And thats his only chance to be able to play for pakistan again, trust me on this.

  • Android on April 13, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    he needs proper coaching by some good fast bowler like wasim.or waqar.

  • Akhtar on April 13, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Wahab Riaz needs a lot of guidance from a good bowling coach. His stats do not show the true potential that he has. Average of more than 32 per wicket in both Tests and ODI's is not good enough to warrant his selection in Pakistan cricket team. He need to improve immensely to make a come back.

  • Faizan on April 13, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    I think Wahab Riaz is an extraordinary crickete: He can bowl fast, swing,seam, reverse swing the ball and he is a pretty handy batsman. I think like most Pakistani cricketers he doesn't know much about his own cricket. I think he is Pakistan's version of Mitchell Johnson. I think Wahab Riaz is a must for the Pakistani test team as he bowls with pace which is not only good at helpful tracks but also at dead wickets. Like Johnson he just needs to get his radar right and he is good to go. However, I would avoid playing him in T20 format. For me he is an ideal Test match bowler who can be used well in 50 overs cricket too but not T20. He should be used as an imposing bowler by Pakistan in Tests who believes in dominating the batsmen by bowling with pace in the rib cage area.

  • ESPN on April 13, 2014, 0:00 GMT

    If Mitchell Johnson can come back and become the most feared bowler in world cricket then so can Wahab!!

    Wahab simply needs to call Wasim, Waqar and Imran Khan for help !!

    Sports Injuries Specialist - Registered Osteopath

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    This man needs to improve his run up and follow through. he puts in a lot of effort and it seems that it is not coming naturally like Wasim, Steyn, Donald, Waqar. All had nice and smooth run ups and their arm movement while delivering the ball was so smooth and pleasing on the eyes. His rhythm breaks while delivering the ball and thats where he loses the control over swing.

  • Stark on April 12, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    He is fast no doubt but way too erratic and doesn't have a good wrist position either, to help him bring the ball back in to RHB.

    Also, out of the names he could have ear-marked as the future of Pak cricket, he picks Malik 2.0?

    Maybe, the bloke hasn't heard of U. Akmal, Shezhad, Maqsood, Haris Sohail or Sami Aslam.

  • Muhammad on April 12, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    No doubt he is fast but if pace was the only thing then Shaun Tate, Hayward, Mohd Zahid, Devon Malcom and likes would have been legends. He needs to seriously work on his control, line & length and variation to be successful. He may be good for tests in helpful conditions but he is always so expensive in shorter formats. Instead of wasting time on working on his batting he should concentrate on improving his bowling techniques.

  • asad on April 12, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    I don't get all this Umer Amin hype. I remember last year whenever he played they would say he is future captain or that he has talent but doesn't use it. Wahab Riaz you say you are a big stats man so please have a look at Umar Amin's stats. His batting average is not even 20 in any of the international formats & he doesn't average over 40 in domestic. When it comes to bowling then his averages are pretty ordinary as well. Umar Amin is even more over hyped then Wahab Riaz. There are plenty of left handed batsmen better than him like Fawad Alam & Haris Sohail. As for Wahab Riaz he has potential but needs consistency (same story with almost whole Pakistani team). He should be brought back in the team after he has an outstanding domestic season.

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