Teams Played For
Pakistan, Kent, Ruhuna Royals, Pakistan All Star XI, Chittagong Kings, Lahore Lions, Surrey, Rangpur Riders, Peshawar Zalmi, Essex, Barbados Tridents, Benoni Zalmi, Kowloon Cantons, Derbyshire, Pakistan A, Kandahar Knights, Northern Warriors, Comilla Victorians, Brampton Wolves, Cape Town Blitz, Dhaka Platoon
Wahab Riaz is another byproduct of Pakistan’s well-known “Left-arm fast bowlers” factory. Riaz is famous for his exploits against Australia in the quarterfinal of the 2015 World Cup at Adelaide Oval, in a fiery duel with Shane Watson. Burly-built Riaz is a tearaway pacer who hits the deck hard and tests the batsman with his quick bouncers.
The Lahore-born southpaw came into the setup through the ranks after playing for Pakistan at the U17 and U19 level, and then made his mark at the domestic level for Lahore Lions. The pacer made his international debut in an ODI game against Zimbabwe in February 2008, at Sheikhupura and announced himself by grabbing two wickets. In just two months’ period, the promising youngster made his T20I debut against Bangladesh, at Lahore.
The southpaw got his Test cap during Pakistan’s most controversial series, in 2010. When his colleagues were going down in the match-fixing scandal, Riaz shone like a star. He started his Test career with a fifer against England, at The Oval.
In 2011, Riaz was selected for the 2011 World Cup and he performed at the right moment to grab all the limelight. He had five outings during the mega-event but the highlight for the World Cup for the potent-pacer came against arch-rivals India, where he took a 5 for 46 in the semifinal, unfortunately in a losing cause.
The next 50-overs World Cup became the masterpiece of Riaz’s career. The pacer was his team’s backbone through the event and he kept his best for the last. However, his spell against the hosts Australia in the quarter-final, where he took the wickets of Michael Clarke & David Warner, and his battle, then, showed some aggressive interaction by sarcastic clapping and a flying kiss to Watson. That spell was later deemed as the “best spell by a foreigner on Aussie soil”. After the game, he gathered a lot of praise from the former players including Brian Lara and Kevin Pieterson.
Riaz was also part of Pakistan’s team who won the Champions Trophy in 2017, but the pacer was a typical Wahab Riaz during the campaign - he was quick, fearsome, expensive yet effective.
By 2019, the pacer had too much experience under his belt but wasn’t initially selected for the World Cup, however, he somehow managed to be part of the final 15-man squad. He was a regular starter throughout the tournament and took 11 wickets at a strike-rate of 36.3.
Since then, the pacer has seen a dip in his career. Sometimes injuries have forced him out of the team and on occasions, the selectors haven't shown faith in him. Although, in 2020, PCB named Riaz in a 29-man squad to tour England during the pandemic, before he got tested positive for coronavirus.
Over the years, Wahab Riaz has enjoyed his time in the T20 franchise across the globe, and meanwhile gained a reputation as a T20 specialist. The pacer has provided his services in the Global T20 league, CPL, APL, Mzansi Super League, LPL, BPL, and most importantly, he has been captaining Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) from the 2017 season. Now, in the twilight of his career, Riaz would be wishing the sport in a pain-free manner, before he hangs up his boots.
(As of March 2021)