World Cup 2019: My country needed me, so I could bear the pain, says Wahab Riaz

With Wahab Riaz and Imad Wasim holding fort in the end, Pakistan - which suffered a middle-order collapse - sailed and stayed on course for a semifinal spot.

Wahaz Riaz played a crucial knock and helped Pakistan beat Afghanistan.   -  AFP

As Pakistan players prepared for their crucial World Cup fixture on Friday, Wahab Riaz suffered a fracture in his right hand little finger.

There was uncertainty over his availability against Afghanistan, but determined to feature in the must-win fixture, the 34-year-old played a key role in Pakistan’s nervy win at Headingley on Saturday.

 

With him and Imad Wasim holding fort in the end, Pakistan - which suffered a middle-order collapse - sailed and stayed on course for a semifinal spot.

After scalping two wickets, Wahab chipped in with an unbeaten match-winning 15-run knock.

After starring in a edge-of-the-seat thriller, Riaz took a few questions from Sportstar in the mixed media zone…

What’s the update on the injury?

It’s okay. It’s a (slight) fracture and it will continue like that. But I have been bowling at the nets for a few days and could bowl against Afghanistan, so I am confident of playing the rest of the games. I have to be on the field.

Being a frontline pacer, how nervy was it to know that you might not feature in this game and how did you motivate yourself?

I was already injured, but it’s all about my will power. I am here to give whatever my team requires. I told the captain (Sarfaraz Ahmed) in the morning that I will give 100 per cent in bowling, but might lack fitness in other departments. But the captain said that if you can bowl for us, that’s it. That was a big boost from the captain and I was ready for the game.

But in the end, you turned into a match-winner, with that game-changing six. How did you manage that?

(Laughs) I had to give whatever I could. It was painful but at the same time, my country needed me more. So, I could bear the pain. You have to always put your country first and play for everything. When I walked into the middle, I told myself, “Allah, you are the only one, who can give us sixes. So, it’s all up to you…” That was the whole thing and it gave me strength to bat freely.

With things getting tougher in the middle, what were the talks in the dressing room?

There is always pressure. Best team, as a team we were all sitting together and we had a vibe that we can pull it off. The confidence in the team is very high. Before I walked out to bat, Sarfaraz came and told me that “we can do it.” I told him that we have to and we will. Insallah, it all went smooth in the end.