Pakistan left-arm pacer says 2015 World Cup spell against Watson changed the way he bowled for good
Pakistan left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz believes the team has learned a lesson from England tail-ender’s fight in the Dubai Test and he is willing to put his hand up to score some runs for the team down the pecking order.
Pakistan beat England in the second Test by 178 runs after leg-spinner Adil Rashid took the match to the final six overs on day five – only to be dismissed by Yasir Shah.
“We know how important it is for the tail to score runs, they can be very valuable,” Wahab told PakPassion.
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“We’ve learnt a lot from the way England have played so we’ll try to perform better in the batting department. I know that personally I’m not in great batting form but I’m still trying and hopefully I will put some runs on the board as well – I’ll be working hard in the nets.”
Wahab said, as the main attacking bowler, he had to provide Pakistan with early breakthroughs and everything worked for him and the team as planned.
“I tried to break England’s momentum and we knew how crucial that first session was. So we planned beforehand to try to take early wickets. Fortunately the ball was reversing so I tried to make use of that to get the batsmen out. Thankfully it was successful,” said Wahab, unveiling Pakistan’s plan in second Dubai Test.
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“These wickets are very good for batting so obviously there isn’t a lot of help for fast bowlers. The only chance you have of taking wickets is either with the new ball or if the ball starts reverse swinging later on. My plan is to attack with the new ball and try to take wickets as it puts a lot of pressure on the batting team from the start. After that I try to focus on bowling a consistent line so as not to leak runs.”
The 30-year-old said his 2015 World Cup spell against Australian right-hand batsman Shane Watson in the quarter-final was the turning point in his career.
“A lot has changed since the Watson spell. I gained a lot of confidence and it told me a lot about my capabilities. The spell to Watson has made me a different bowler. So I find things a lot easier now, even in difficult conditions. I have that belief in my ability and skills that I can perform on any track.
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“I have done a lot of work on my wrist position – I’ve always had a lot of pace, the difference is that now it seems a bit more threatening,” explained Wahab.
Moreover, Wahab also praised the presence of the ‘legend’ Younus Khan and ‘hard-working captain’ Misbahul Haq in the team.
“Younus Khan is a legend. He’s a role model for us from whom we learn everything about cricket, whether it’s batting bowling or fielding. He never gives up and that’s the best thing about him. He keeps us motivated and is always there to help us. We are very lucky to have a legend like him in our dressing room who we respect a lot and who always gives respect to others,” said Wahab of Pakistan’s highest run-scorer in Tests.
“Misbah is the fittest player in our team and you can still see him moving around well in the field. Pakistan have been great under his captaincy – he’s a very hard working captain, the kind of guy who always lifts his team and backs his players. Things are much easier for the players with him around,” said Wahab of the most successful Test captain in Pakistan cricket’s history.