Pakistan’s pace ace Wahab Riaz bids farewell to international cricket
In a bittersweet moment for cricket enthusiasts across Pakistan as left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz on Wednesday announced his retirement from international cricket.
Wahab extended his heartfelt gratitude to the Pakistan Cricket Board, his family, teammates, and the ever-loyal fans who stood by him through thick and thin.
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He affirmed his commitment to continue showcasing his skills in league cricket, promising to remain a force to be reckoned with.
Wahab’s journey through the cricketing world has been nothing short of remarkable. His rise to prominence was hastened by Pakistan’s perennial struggles with fast bowling talents plagued by injuries and absences. With icons like Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif often sidelined, and Umar Gul battling his own injury woes, Wahab seized the opportunity to don the national colors at an early stage in his career.
Debuting on the grand stage against England at The Oval in 2010, Wahab immediately turned heads with his sheer pace and tenacity. A scintillating performance, where he clinched 5 wickets for just 63 runs, etched his name among the select few Pakistani bowlers who achieved a five-wicket haul on debut. His victims included the likes of Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott, and Kevin Pietersen, showcasing his ability to dismiss some of the game’s finest.
However, the road ahead was far from smooth. Wahab experienced a rollercoaster of fortunes during tours to New Zealand and the West Indies in 2011, leading to his temporary exclusion from the Test squad. As an ODI specialist, he often walked a tightrope between being a wicket-taking asset and a bowler who conceded his share of runs. His crowning moment arrived in the 2011 World Cup semi-final against India, where he turned the game on its head with a breathtaking 5-wicket haul. His scalps included the top-order stalwarts Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, and MS Dhoni. Regrettably, his heroic efforts weren’t enough to steer Pakistan to victory.
Throughout his international career, Wahab remained a vital cog in Pakistan’s ODI machinery, although concerns lingered over his economy rate. Despite the ups and downs, his passion for the game and his unwavering dedication to the team stood as testaments to his character.