Wahab Riaz, who recently got included in Pakistan World Cup squad, is all geared up to give his best on the field. And more importantly, the player who hasn’t played an ODI since June 2017 is determined to change coach Mickey Arthur’s perception about him.

Previously, Wahab had been criticized over his ‘work ethic’ by Arthur, who brought up the fact how Riaz had not won a game in two years. However, the player struck back by performing well in this year’s Pakistan Cup tournament, resulting in a title win for his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa team.

In a recent press conference, Riaz opened up about how the criticism affected him, while urging him to do better in the future.

“I can’t explain in words the pain I have gone through, but I don’t want to live in the past. That’s history now. Now it’s about what we are going to do in the World Cup,” he said.

“Obviously, it’s the coach’s duty to get the best results from the players, and he wants players that can win matches for the team. I also wanted to be in the team, the only difference is I missed two years of [international] cricket. Now I am in and want to prove him [Arthur] wrong and justify my opportunity,” he added.

On the topic of how many feel his selection was unfair to a bunch of other players, Riaz disagreed with the notion.

“You can’t say it was unfair. It was Allah’s will that my selection was meant for the World Cup directly, but I have been praying that whatever happens should happen for good. Being named in the squad and then not being able to perform will be another unfortunate thing as there is a lot of expectation. I hope for the best and want to take this opportunity to move on and perform,” he said.

In fact, the player’s determination to be a part of the World Cup squad was intense enough for him to dream about it. “I kept myself fully prepared for this World Cup even knowing that I am nowhere near the team. I even had dreams I was meeting Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz Ahmad, and sometimes they would pick me, and reject me at other times,” he said.

“Around ten days ago, I had a dream that Inzi bhai [Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector] gave me a call and told me that I have been selected and this is my last chance. It was exactly how it happened when I was called and told about the decision. It is nothing less than make or break for a player who gets an opportunity to play in the World Cup,” he added.

Moving on, Riaz also addressed Junaid Khan’s protest, who was recently dropped from the squad and then later posted a picture with duct tape over his mouth, giving rise to controversies.

“Every player wishes to play for Pakistan and the World Cup is the biggest challenge in your career,” said Wahab. “Obviously, he will be saddened and very frustrated, and must be thinking he had been treated unfairly. But when I was out for two years, I was thinking the same,” he said.

“At the end, this is the Pakistan team and its selectors, coaches and captains make the decision. I am sure this wasn’t meant to hurt someone but it’s for the country, and whatever they think is good for Pakistan,” he added.


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