Wahab Riaz wants Pakistan Test return against England
By Associated Press
Last Updated: 15/06/20 3:24pm
Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz says he has agreed to return to Test cricket if required for the series in England later this summer.
The 34-year-old Wahab - who has taken 83 Test wickets in 27 matches - is named among a 29-player squad for the three Test matches and three T20 internationals against England scheduled for August and September.
Wahab took an indefinite break from Test cricket last year just before Pakistan toured Australia, while fellow left-arm quick bowler Mohammad Amir also announced his retirement from the longer format.
The pair's absence didn't go over well with head coach Misbah-ul-Haq or fast-bowling coach Waqar Younis but, with the Pakistan Cricket Board deciding to send a larger squad to England in case a player is ruled out due to coronavirus, Wahab has been recalled.
"The PCB communicated with me to play Test cricket [in England], if required, and to play for Pakistan is always a priority, so I said yes without even thinking," Wahab told reporters on a video teleconference.
Wahab defended his original decision to step back from Test cricket, pointing to the fact he had played just four Test matches in three years, despite being a regular member of ODI and T20 teams.
"The priority was not different last year," Riaz explained. "I haven't been playing Test cricket regularly in the last three, four years before this management arrived and so the priority was to focus on white-ball cricket."
When asked if his selection for the Test squad would be a one-off for the England series, Wahab said he had to see how things go.
"I know playing in England is not easy," he said. "Getting an opportunity to play for Pakistan in red-ball cricket is also a challenge for me which I have to accept and I accepted it.
"As a senior player, I wanted to create an example; because it all has to be for Pakistan, not for yourself and the colour of the ball does not matter."
The rise in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has forced the PCB to cancel a training camp for the team; the group is expected to leave for England in early July to get enough time to get used to the conditions.