Commenting on the dismal performance of defending champions Peshawar Zalmi ─ who are now sitting above only the last-placed Lahore Qalandars ─ pacer Wahab Riaz acknowledged that the team's performance had been below par in the season.
"If we are unable to qualify, I would say we did not deserve it because our display of cricket was not good," said Riaz, who is now the second-highest wicket-taking bowler in the Pakistan Super League's (PSL's) third season despite his team's woes, while speaking to the media after Zalmi's loss against Quetta Gladiators early Sunday.
"Obviously we wanted to qualify for playoffs because we are the defending champions. But now the situation has become very difficult. It's now a game of ifs and buts as Multan Sultans will now have to lose against Islamabad United and we'll need to win both our games to get to the playoffs."
Asked about the lack of young talent in the season, Riaz acknowledged that new players were finding it hard to perform. But, he said, this was not due to the lack of talent but conditions of the pitches and the quality of cricket played at the domestic level.
Riaz, who has had to sit out from the national limited overs sides since the Champions Trophy, also expressed his disappointment at his exclusion, but remained hopeful of making a comeback. "I am satisfied with my performance. I performed well in the domestic season as well. I am giving the selectors a reason to select me but my selection eventually depends on them."
He also said he got his new look — a horseshoe moustache — to get over the disappointment and give himself "a reason to perform well in this season".
Meanwhile, Gladiators' skipper Sarfraz Ahmed appeared satisfied at his team being able to find the right combination and getting on the winning track after initial difficulties.
"We were finding it hard to grasp what brand of cricket we will play. But thankfully, we have now been able to find motivation," Sarfraz said praising the form of his team's star players Kevin Pietersen and Shane Watson.
Responding to a question about both the top performers' indecisiveness about coming to Pakistan and the possibility of Quetta heading towards a possible disaster like the previous season's final, Sarfraz said he was hopeful both Pietersen and Watson "would make a decision for the betterment of the team".
Meanwhile, another international player of Quetta Gladiators, Rilee Rossouw, has also cast doubts on his arrival to Pakistan and has said he would need to consult his family before making the final decision. Watson has already made a similar comment, saying he would need to sit down with his family before making the final decision.
Sarfraz today said his team would look at other international players who were ready to come to Pakistan in case those in the current squad refused.