Wahab Riaz named Punjab Sports Minister
Wahab will take his oath of office after returning from the Bangladesh Premier League
The relationship between Pakistani cricket and politics has thrown up another candidate set to straddle the two, with fast bowler Wahab Riaz named as the caretaker Sports Minister of Punjab. Wahab, who is currently playing for Khulna Tigers in the Bangladesh Premier League, will take his oath of office once he returns home.
There is no official word on what this means for his involvement with the Pakistan Super League, though he is almost certain to take full part in it.
Wahab plays for Peshawar Zalmi and, until this year, captained the side, before Babar Azam's move to the 2017 champions saw him take over the captaincy. He was retained in the Diamond category by Zalmi, a downgrade from his erstwhile Platinum status.
He is the runaway all-time leading wicket-taker in the PSL with 103, Hasan Ali a distant second with 81.
Wahab, 37, last played international cricket for Pakistan in 2020, playing 27 Tests, 91 ODIs and 36 T20Is in all, taking 237 wickets across formats.
His appointment was notified by the caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab, Mohsin Naqvi, and he is set to hold the position until provincial elections are hosted in Punjab, likely to take place in April.
In Pakistan, a caretaker government is established upon the dissolution of assemblies in the lead-up to provincial and national elections. The caretaker government oversees elections, and ministers holding caretaker posts are appointed rather than elected. Wahab does not have overtly political affiliations or administrative experience, though his late father-in-law and Naqvi were prominent members of Lahore's business community.
Until the establishment of a caretaker setup in Punjab, the government in Pakistan's largest province by population and political allocation, was headed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, whose chairman is former Pakistan captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan.