Pakistan paceman Wahab Riaz was a late addition to the ICC World Cup squad just like Mohammed Amir. Now the pair of them are Pakistan’s two highest wicket-takers with Amir leading the way with 15 scalps and Riaz on eight.
But the biggest positive that Pakistan team and Riaz can draw from their 49-run win over South Africa on Sunday (June 23) is the return to reverse swing to their arsenal. The left-arm paceman managed to pick up his best figures of this year’s World Cup — 3/46 — bundling out a couple of South African tail-enders with searing yorkers.
“It was lovely to see that the ball was reversing after a long time. It’s because of my wrist which is flexible and also my action is a bit round-arm which always helps in reversing the ball. Whenever you bowl the ball up to the batsmen, there is always a chance for it to reverse,” Riaz told cricketworldcup.com.
The lack of reverse swing has hampered fast bowlers all around the world due to the introduction of two new balls by the ICC.
“Everything is benefitting the batsmen currently but if you can get the ball to reverse, you keep asking questions to the batsmen. Other than that they are very cruel to all the bowlers,” Riaz said about the unfair advantage to the batsmen in ODI cricket.
His opening bowling partner, Amir, has led the Pakistan attack brilliantly after being out of form for a couple of years after the 2017 Champions Trophy.
“Amir has been amazing. He was under a lot of pressure because he wasn’t able to perform in the last couple of seasons. As a bowler I know how difficult it can be, when people talk about you it is not easy to perform,” Riaz said about Amir.
“The best thing is that we both talk to each other how things are going, how we should be bowling and we had the belief in each other,” he added.
Pakistan still have a slim chance of reaching the World Cup semifinals but they have to win all of their remaining games starting with the match against unbeaten New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday (June 26).
“As a group, we were telling each other that we are letting the team down. We knew where the things were going wrong and how we can pull them back. We have a lot of match-winners in our team but we have to get that intent going,” Riaz said when asked how Pakistan can turn things around.
“My basic intention was to play the World Cup and perform for Pakistan. We have to win the next three games and we have nothing to lose,” he added.