• Latecomer Riaz grateful for opportunity

    Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz is enjoying being able to contribute to Pakistan’s World Cup campaign after belatedly being added to the squad.

    Riaz wasn’t named in the original 15, but was a late addition alongside fellow left-armer Mohammad Amir.

    Riaz took three wickets in triumph over England at Trent Bridge in Nottingham earlier this week – and will likely be retained for Friday’s fixture against Sri Lanka in Bristol.

    ‘It’s a complete change of fate and I am enjoying that. I would have been watching the World Cup in my drawing room and praying for the Pakistan team,’ said Riaz.

    ‘But I am here taking wickets. When you are not in the team then you need encouragement.’

    He has that encouragement and inspiration from former fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who are among many Pakistani cricketers’ role models.

    ‘I met Wasim and Waqar last week and they told me not to fear anyone. Wasim told me that I looked great and those words inspired me a lot,’ he added.

    Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992 after winning just one of their five opening matches. In the 2019 tournament they have one from two so far, after the win over England and defeat to the West Indies.

    ‘We know that it was just one win. We need to cover nine steps before the semi-final, so we must cover them slowly and gradually,’ concluded Riaz.

    Photo: Getty Images

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