Cricket: Fierce pace will trouble batsmen, Riaz warns

By David Leggat

Left arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz is capable of searing pace, a weapon he has been honing ahead of his side's tour of New Zealand. Photo / AFP
Left arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz is capable of searing pace, a weapon he has been honing ahead of his side's tour of New Zealand. Photo / AFP

Pace is ace as far as Pakistani left arm quick Wahab Riaz is concerned.

He will form part of a quality fast attack for Pakistan's tour of New Zealand and will present the hosts with fresh problems after the generally pedestrian pace of the Sri Lankan bowling, Dushmantha Chameera the honourable exception.

"We are going to be a different bowling challenge," Riaz, a regular up around 150km/h, said yesterday. "We have experienced and quality bowlers, so it is not going to be easy for New Zealand's batsmen. We will attack them. We cannot sit back and see what they are doing."

While admiring the New Zealand's cricket of late, and the hitting of the likes of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, Riaz is confident Pakistan can match their 2009 performance when they beat New Zealand 3-2 in their six-game ODI series.

Riaz, 30, took eight wickets at 18 apiece in that series and has taken 11 at 28 overall against New Zealand. His pace and ODI record - 93 wickets in 67 games - demands respect.

Anyone who witnessed his duel with Shane Watson during the World Cup quarter-final in Adelaide - blistering pace against an out-of-sorts, but game batsman - will long remember it.

"It's definitely a great weapon for me and I am working hard on it. I try to be consistently hitting 145-150kmph, and if my rhythm is good I can go much higher."

Riaz is relishing the idea of playing alongside fellow left armer Mohammad Amir after his five-year absence and is sure Pakistan have the goods to trouble New Zealand with players such as the canny veteran Umar Gul, here for the T20 leg, and the giant left armer Mohammad Irfan, who pitches up for the ODI matches.

"Definitely Amir is a great addition to the team. He's getting a chance, he's a great fast bowler, he has proved that in the past and it's time for him to prove it again.

"Probably with him here there's less pressure on me as a bowler because getting his support, plus Umar Gul is back so it's going to be a good combination for Pakistani cricket."

As for New Zealand's batsmen, "it seems like cricket is very easy these days for them because they are hitting the ball really well".

Something Riaz and co are aiming to stop.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 27 Feb 2017 20:14:47 Processing Time: 429ms