Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz has revealed that the legendary pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis advised him “not to fear anyone”.
He added that he was really inspired and given a major boost in confidence when Akram told him that he looked in great form when bowling.
Wahab was initially not included in the list of 23 probables for the World Cup, but was the third-highest wicket-taker in this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) with 17 wickets in 13 games for the Peshawar Zalmi at an average of 19.88.
However, he, fellow left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir and big-hitting batsman Asif Ali ended up being included in the World Cup team at the expense of left-arm pace bowler Junaid Khan, opener Abid Ali and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf.
In Pakistan’s two World Cup games against the West Indies and England, he has claimed three wickets at an average of 40.66.
All three of Wahab’s wickets came in Pakistan’s incredible 14-run win over England in Nottingham on Monday.
“It’s a complete change of fate and I am enjoying that,” Riaz was quoted as saying by PakPassion. “I would have been watching the World Cup in my drawing room and praying for the Pakistan team.
“But I am here taking wickets and getting inspiration from Wasim, who I watched bowling in my childhood and idolised all my career, and my former coach Waqar. They are inspiring me here.
“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.
“When you are not in the team then you need encouragement and the two great bowlers helped me get back to my full confidence.”
Pakistan’s next World Cup match will be against Sri Lanka in Bristol on Friday.