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LAHORE: Pacer Wahab Riaz, who is advisor on Sports in the caretaker Punjab set up, announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old left-arm pacer Wahab announced on his social media handle that after an incredible journey, he has decided to retire from international cricket. He played 27 Tests, 91 ODIs and 36 T20Is for Pakistan over the course of his career scalping a total of 237 wickets in international cricket. He expressed gratitude to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), his coaches, family and fans for their support.

While talking about his decision, Riaz said it was a privilege for him to play for Pakistan for such a long time. He, however, made it clear that he will continue playing franchise cricket after retiring from international cricket.

He said he had been speaking about his retirement plans for the past two years and that 2023 was his target to retire from international cricket. He feels comfortable now more than ever that he has served his country and the national team to the best he could have.

Born on June 28, 1985 in Lahore, Wahab, who is a left-arm fast bowler, best known for his sharp bowling speed, made his first Test appearance in 2010. During his inaugural Test match against England at The Oval in 2010, Riaz’s exceptional performance saw him secure figures of 5 for 63.

Riaz recently completed more than 400 T20 wickets while playing for Khulna Tigers in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2023. He became the second fastest bowler and overall sixth bowler to attain the remarkable feat.

Talking to media, Wahab said that his decision to retire from international cricket was not emotional but was rooted in reality.

“I believe in reality. The kind of bowlers the Pakistan team has, I think it would be unfair for me to play in the team. So this is not an emotional decision,” he said.

When asked about the possibility of becoming a coach in future, Wahab said that the decision would ultimately lie with the PCB but that he would love to coach younger players.

He said if an opportunity presented itself in Pakistan or abroad, he would go for it as he had learnt a lot over his career which he would like to transfer to younger players.

Responding to a query, he spoke out against the PCB’s decision to exclude cricket icon Imran Khan from a video celebrating the country’s historic cricketing moments since 1952. He expressed his reverence for Khan, recalling the latter’s instrumental role in leading Pakistan to its first-ever World Cup victory in 1992.

He believes Khan’s cricket legacy remains untouched. Khan’s omission from the PCB video has drawn widespread criticism, with other cricketing legends like Wasim Akram also demanding an apology from the board.

Wahab’s ODI career was marked by several memorable performances. It was back in the 2011 World Cup when Wahab gained worldwide popularity after his deadly spell against India in Mohali.

He went on to dismiss five Indian batters including Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh to dismantle the Indian batting order. Again, during the 2015 World Cup, Wahab produced a scary spell against Australia in the quarterfinal at Adelaide.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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