Wahab Riaz's pace can be scary, bounce scarier - ask the 2015 World Cup-winning Australian top-order for proof. But scariest is his latest celebration style. From 'twirling the moustache' to the his 'sword' celebration, the Pakistan left-arm pacer has moved on and perfected the art of 'slitting the batsman's throat' -- by way of celebration.
Now, his coach in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Peshawar Zalmi has asked him to stop the controversial celebration. "My coach has told me to lay off this celebration style and, in fact, all the bowlers have been told to avoid excessive celebrations after taking a wicket," Wahab, who has taken 13 wickets in the T20 league, said.
The experienced pacer, known for his ability to bowl at around 150mph, said he had decided to get rid of his handle bar moustache for the same reason. "I am back to a clean shave and avoiding taking a wicket with my slitting the throat celebration as I also realised it could lead to criticism and unnecessary controversies. I didn't look very nice after I saw it on screen myself," Wahab said.
In awe and fear, the world watched as Wahab rattled the likes of Michael Clarke, David Warner and Shane Watson with his searing pace and bounce, in the quarterfinal of the ICC World Cup four years ago. Wahab's celebration style was the talk of the PSL after he exhibited it in the first match but has now tapered down his aggression.
Wahab said he was very disappointed at not being in the national team for the coming one-day series against Australia but had still not given up the dream of playing in his third successive World Cup. "That I very disappointed would be an understatement but I have learnt to take such things in my stride and just keep on doing my best and that is what I am doing in the PSL," he added.
Apparently, Wahab, who has taken 83 Test, 102 ODI and 28 T20 international wickets in his career, was initially selected in the Pakistan squad for the Australia series but was dropped at the last moment and replaced by rookie fast bowler, Mohammad Hasnain. "I don't know what happened or not but my job is to keep trying. My only grievance is that if you give me a chance give me a proper chance to show my worth. Don’t sideline me after a few games," he said.
Wahab said he also deserved to get as many chances as others got. "I know I still have plenty of cricket left in me and I can make an impact in the World Cup but rest is up to the selectors. But, yes, I would like to know where my future stands," he said.