Wahab Riaz, the Pakistan left-arm pacer, has announced that he will take an indefinite break from red ball cricket and focus only on ODIs and T20Is. In a statement released on his social media handles, Wahab said he will not play in the revamped Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class tournament which kicks off from Saturday and will be concentrating on the shorter formats of the game. He also said he may be returning to red-ball cricket at a later date. There was speculation about Wahab also contemplating quitting Test cricket and the senior player confirmed that the PCB had been trying to convince him to pursue his career with red-ball.
"After reviewing my past couple of years' performances in red-ball cricket and the upcoming limited overs cricket, I have decided to take time off from first-class cricket. During this period, I will like to focus on 50-over and 20-over cricket, and continue to access my fitness for the longer version of the game. At a stage I feel I can not only return but also perform with the red-ball, I would make myself available," Wahab added.
Wahab was a last minute selection for the recent World Cup after being kept out of the one-day international side for two-years and he returned as one of Pakistan's successful bowlers in the tournament, taking 11 wickets in eight games.
He last played a Test in October last year against Australia to take his tally of Test appearances to 27 while he has played in 87 ODIs and 27 T20 Internationals.
During Mickey Arthur's tenure as Pakistan cricket team coach, Wahab had faced flak for not helping Pakistan win a Test for close to two years. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Arthur said, "He has not won us a game in two years. I expect players that have been around for a long time to be winning us games and setting standards. Otherwise we will invest in younger players who have long futures. We have good youngsters around. [Dropping] Wahab is a big decision but we have chosen a squad according to the time of year, country and conditions. The guys need to push themselves and get out of their comfort zones."