World Cup 2019: Wahab Riaz back in Pakistan squad after two years

Riaz is best-remembered for his hostile spells against Australia and India in the 2015 and 2011 World Cups respectively.

Riaz last represented Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.   -  REUTERS

Wahab Riaz, who has 102 wickets in 79 ODIs, was on Monday included in Pakistan's final 15-member squad for the World Cup in England later this month. Riaz last represented Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. He did not feature initially in the provisional squad, but was a surprise inclusion.

Riaz is best-remembered for his hostile spell against Australia in the 2015 World Cup when he ruffled the batsmen with pace and bounce. His duel with Shane Watson was particularly enticing, with the right-arm seamer peppering Watson with bouncers even as the Aussie somehow managed to cling on to his wicket.

With Australia three down for 59 chasing 214, Riaz had finally got Watson to hook and the ball sailed directly to deep fine leg, where Rahat Ali dropped a sitter. Watson, batting on 4 at the time, went on to win the match for his team.

Riaz, 2-14 off four overs, finished with 2-54 and 16 wickets in the tournament, including three in the group-stage win over South Africa.

Breathing fire

Riaz was at his breathtaking best against arch-rival India in the 2011 World Cup semifinal in Mohali, where his spells of 3-0-10-1, 3-0-17-2, 2-0-8-1, and 2-0-11-1 earned him a deserving five-for which included the wickets of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh: the eventual man of the tournament.

Needless to say, the inclusion of the Lahore-ban pacer will add fire to an already fearsome Pakistan pace battery.

Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain