SHARJAH: Wahab Riaz’s five-wicket haul in West Indies’ first-innings of the final Test kept the tourists’ score in check, but he needs to be more consistent with not only taking wickets but also ensuring accuracy with the ball, according to former captain Waqar Younis.
His five for 88 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday was Riaz’s first five-wicket haul since he took five for 63 on debut over six years ago. Following that effort at The Oval in August 2010, Riaz has played just 19 more Tests — including the ongoing Test in Sharjah — and managed 61 wickets in total at a strike-rate of just over 60.
“When you are fast and in the team as a strike bowler, you are expected to take more wickets and do that more regularly,” Waqar told Dawn at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.“Riaz has that ability and he’s that kind of a bowler who can pick up regular wickets. But, given the number of matches he has played, he should have taken at least 80 to 90 Test wickets. He’s a better bowler than a two-three-wicket one.”
Riaz, together with Mohammad Amir, was rested for the second Test in Abu Dhabi after having played the series-opener as well as three Tests on the tour of England that preceded the series against the West Indies.
Following Pakistan’s dismissal for 281 on the second morning, Riaz picked up Leon Johnson in his second over of the innings and Shane Dowrich off an inside edge later in the day. He returned to wrap up the tail by taking the final three wickets to fall, going past the 90-mph mark regularly.
However, his inability to consistently make the batsmen play left Waqar disappointed — infuriated, at times - after misdirected short deliveries and only a small percentage directed at the stumps left the West Indies batsmen with little to fend off.
He managed to dismiss Devendra Bishoo, Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel to wrap up West Indies’ innings at 337. However, only four out of the 23 deliveries Riaz bowled to Bishoo, and none of the 10 he bowled to Joseph and Gabriel pitched in line.
“It was a good effort on his part and getting five wickets is no mean feat, but you need to make the batsmen play more. Beating the edge or going close to the stumps is ok but when you have the tail in front of you, being a fast-bowler you need to ensure you wrap things up as soon as possible.
“In our days, once we got a sniff, we used to go for the kill. But the important thing was to make the batsman play.”
“People talk about his effort against Shane Watson in Adelaide or that effort in Abu Dhabi against England last year. He needs to ensure he doesn’t sit on those laurels and add more wickets to his tally. Beating the bat isn’t enough. We expect more from him and more regularly as well.”
Published in Dawn November 2nd, 2016