The 33-year-old left-arm pacer has been left out of Pakistan's limited-overs side for youngsters like Hasan Ali, and conceded it's difficult to win back a spot given the team's formidable bowling options.
However, Pakistan's highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup stressed he has it in him to do it once again in next year's World Cup, to be played in England and Wales.
“It’s never easy to try and find a permanent place in a strong team like Pakistan which is doing so well at the moment,” he told Pakpassion.net. “This is especially true when you are talking about Pakistan’s very effective bowling line-up but I know that I made my debut for Pakistan when our bowling was very strong and it happened due to my hard work. I was able to convince the selection committee then and I believe I can do it again."
“At the moment, being selected for the 2019 World Cup for Pakistan and performing well is my main, and only, priority at this time. There is also the 2020 World T20 on the horizon but I am firmly focused on playing in the 2019 World Cup at the moment.”
Riaz, who has 102 wickets from 79 ODIs, has also played 27 T20Is and 26 Tests. He last played for Pakistan last October in their Test against Sri Lanka.
However, Riyaz is not yet thinking of retirement as yet.
“It is my only desire as a professional cricketer and as a Pakistani to continue playing for my country,” he said. "Playing for your country gives one great satisfaction. Moreover, being selected to play for a strong team like Pakistan means that you have to be one of the best fast-bowlers in the world, so it’s a matter of honour and pride to see your name on the Pakistan team list and something I will never give up on.
“I am 33 but my fitness and ambition has never been stronger. I used to think that the fascination of playing for Pakistan would fade with time. But, if anything, my passion to represent Pakistan has only grown and become stronger than ever before.”
Pakistan's next international fixture is the Asia Cup to be held between September 15 and September 28 in the UAE.
First Published: August 29, 2018, 11:54 AM IST