Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has slammed the national selectors for snubbing left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz for the upcoming tours of Ireland and England.
Riaz excelled during the recent Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he represented the Peshawar Zalmi and was the joint-highest wicket-taker with 18 victims at an average of 19.11.
However, he was not even among the list of 25 probables who attended a training camp prior to the selection of the Test squad.
Head coach Mickey Arthur revealed that the 32-year-old “has not won us a game in two years” and also went on to criticise his work ethic when it came to training.
However, given Riaz’s experience and his brilliant performances as of late, Raja believes it was a bizarre decision to overlook the left-arm pace bowler.
“I ask why Riaz is not picked, as he was among the most impressive bowlers in the Pakistan Super League, bowling over 150kph and reversing the ball,” Raja was quoted as saying by the Business Recorder. “So if there is no Yasir Shah at the disposal, who will take the wickets? I believe the next best choice for Pakistan was Riaz, which they missed out on.”
Raja also expressed his skepticism towards Pakistan’s batting strategy as he feels it would be unwise to make Azhar Ali open the batting.
“Ali shouldn’t open the batting, because if he gets out early it will create a lot of pressure on the amateur looking batting order, so he should bat at number three,” Raja said.
He also believes that big-hitting opener Fakhar Zaman shouldn’t have been included in the Test side.
Zaman was one of five uncapped players included in the Test squad, with the others being Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Salahuddin, Saad Ali and Faheem Ashraf.
“Meanwhile, trying out Zaman as an opener in English conditions is a bad idea, because Zaman’s batting is weak under the seam friendly conditions offered in England. If we want to introduce Zaman as an opener he should be used in the local Asian conditions first,” Raja said.
Pakistan’s Test match against Ireland, which will get underway on May 11 in Dublin, will be a historic fixture as it will be the latter’s first-ever Test match.
As for their tour of England, it will consist of two Tests, with the first beginning on May 24 at Lord’s. The second Test will be held at Headingley in Leeds on June 1.