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Tuesday February 07, 2023

What Wahab Riaz has to say about favourtism in Ramiz Raja's tenure

Cricketer raises questions over being "ignored" for T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia

January 25, 2023
Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz (left) and former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja. — Reuters/AFP/File
Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz (left) and former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja. — Reuters/AFP/File

Wahab Riaz, Pakistan's experienced pacer, Wednesday shared his views about favouritism during Ramiz Raja's tenure as the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman when the chief selector of the national men's team was Mohammad Wasim.

Taking a dig at the former chief selector in an interview with Geosuper.tv, the cricketer blamed Wasim for disregarding senior players regardless of their performances.

"Laptop chief selector [Wasim] did poor selection. He didn't have justification for non-selection of players like Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik, and Sarfaraz Ahmed," he highlighted.

The cricketer, who last played an international match in 2020, questioned why Malik and Wasim's good performance in T20 World Cup 2021 did not show up on the chief selector's laptop.

"Why they were ignored for T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia? What was their fault?" the 37-year-old cricketer asked.

When asked about talking to former PCB chairman Raja about the matter, Wahab said he didn't.

"I know Ramiz bhai was the last authority. The chief selector was bound to communicate with us but in our culture, you communicate with people who always agree with you. You don't communicate to the people who know how to defend their stance," he mentioned.

Wahab was dropped from the squad after he picked five wickets in two ODIs and four wickets in three T20Is he played in 2020, when Ehsan Mani was the PCB chairman and Wasim Khan was the CEO.

'Not right to sideline players'

Wahab reiterated that there must be a limit to favouritism.

"There must be a limit to favouritism. It's not right to sideline players calling them over-aged. If age is important, then the rule must be the same for everyone," the veteran pacer highlighted.

"Take the example of Misbah bhai, who performed for Pakistan at 40+ age. I think the peak of any cricketer starts after the age of 30. There are a lot of other examples too. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Faf Du Plessis: all are 30+, but performing for their teams. In my opinion, age must not be the criterion. If any senior player is worthy for the team, he should be selected regardless of age," he maintained.

Eyeing a comeback

Following his recent form in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2023, Wahab eyes a comeback to the national side.

"There have been a lot of highs and lows in my career but I always try to believe in my hard work and skills," said Wahab who completed his 400 T20 wickets during this year's BPL.

Wahab became the only second pacer in T20 history to take 400 wickets. The first pacer was Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies.

"My job is to perform and make my case stronger. Obviously, it's World Cup year and I really want to represent Pakistan once again," added Wahab, who had already stated that he will decide his future after this year's mega 50-over format event.

Training at NCA

Wahab revealed that he was allowed to train at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore without any hindrance.

"I won't lie here, Nadem Khan [ex-Director High-Performance Center] allowed me to train in NCA every time. Yes, Amir and some other players, who didn't play for Pakistan during the last two years, weren't allowed. But, I always trained there and utilised all their facilities," he shared.

Sethi's arrival positive

Wahab sees Najam Sethi's arrival as positive for the betterment of cricket in the country.

"Najam Sethi's arrival is good for cricket. I hope he does justice with players like me, Sarfaraz, Hafeez, Malik and Hassan Ali who have performed well for Pakistan," he concluded.