Didn’t quit Test cricket for money, don’t care about central contract: Wahab Riaz
Statesman Report
LAHORE: Fast bowler Wahab Riaz, for the first time, has vehemently rejected widespread notion that he and fellow pacer Mohammad Amir quit Test cricket in order to make more money from league cricket – something that he feels may have led to their omission in new central contracts list.
Riaz, soon after Amir’s retirement from the longest format last year, had followed suit and made himself unavailable, inviting a ton of criticism from fans and experts, some of whom even claimed the two were ditching the country at a time when it needed them the most.
The pacer nicknamed Vicky has made it clear that money was certainly not a factor in their decision.
“There is a false impression that we have given up red-ball cricket to make money from leagues. There is no such thing. We have always preferred to play for Pakistan and our decision should be respected,” Riaz told Geo Super.
“Since 2017, I was not even a regular fixture of the Test squad. I had barely played a Test,” the 34-year-old reminded his critics who had deemed his absence a major blow for the five-day unit.
Most recently, Riaz and Amir were the notable absentees when the PCB handed out central contracts, with those in the know deducing that the duo were punished for their unpopular and untimely decisions. Riaz also cannot discount the possibility of them being “exemplified”.
“It is possible that we have been exemplified for quitting red-ball cricket or maybe the PCB wanted to give a chance to young fast bowlers and groom them by keeping them centrally contracted,” he said.
However, Misbah and co’s decision did not seem to bother the 34-year-old as he clarified that his sole focus was to represent his country.
“Central contract is not my priority … playing for the country is and will always be. It will be an honour to play for the country whenever the opportunity arises.”
When asked for a time-frame for his return to red-ball cricket, the Lahore-born clarified that he, as of yet, has no intention of returning to the longest format and will only do so when he feels prepared.
“I have not thought or planned to return to red-ball cricket. When I feel like playing, I will intimate the PCB about my decision,” he said.
‘No spit, no shine, no swing, no party’
Riaz revealed he was not a fan of the proposed idea of banning the use of saliva to shine the ball amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He reasoned that bowlers could potentially face difficulty in swinging the ball as sweat was not an ideal substitute to spit.
“It’s absolutely necessary for bowlers to shine the ball otherwise it could cause problems in swinging the ball. There should be a substitute that bowlers can use in place,” he said.