Wahab Riaz hungry to perform in SA
Pakistani left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz has said he is desperate to bowl on the lively South African pitches, ahead of the limited-overs leg that starts on March 1. Riaz was not part of the Test side that was blanked 3-0 by South Africa and has worked hard on his fitness in this period.
"I am super fit at the moment and in the best form," Riaz said. "I have a lot to offer to my captain and coach. I am desperate to bowl on the surfaces in South Africa. I can bowl fast, and conditions are well suited for me to bowl reverse swing as well."
His last ODI appearance was against India during the Asia Cup in 2012. He was selected as part of the Pakistan squad that toured India in December last year, but didn't make it into the playing eleven. The selectors however, have retained him for the South Africa ODIs and T20s, and he is likely to make it to the XI.
Riaz admitted the time away from international cricket was frustrating, but he kept himself match fit. He recently recorded his best first-class figures of 9 for 59 in a Quaid-e-Azam trophy match.
"I have managed myself very well. I have been playing hockey for the last one-and-a-half months to build up my thighs for the South African grounds, which are a bit harder. I recently took nine wickets in an innings, which shows my form," he said. "It always feel good when the selectors tap your shoulder to give you a go, but it's frustrating when you are not able to make it to the XI."
Riaz, 27, impressed during his debut series 2008 against Zimbabwe. He also had a good start to Test cricket, taking a five-for against England in August 2010. He picked up his maiden ODI five-wicket haul during the World Cup semi-final against India, but was not able to cement his place.
"I know things weren't right sometimes, and I wavered and leaked so many runs," he said. "When you are representing your country, you are pumped up and trying to give your hundred per cent. Some days nothing works in your favour, but you move on and come back after working on your deficiency.
"Fast bowlers are always emotional and aggressive - they need time to settle. I still have a case to prove, and I believe this South Africa tour will be an ideal opportunity for me to showcase my abilities."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent