Wahab Riaz, who has played eight international matches for Pakistan, will be questioned next week by police investigating cricket corruption. His summons for interview by Scotland Yard detectives was surprisingly announced in Lahore yesterday.
The management of the team touring England, due to play in Chester-le-Street today in the first of five one-day matches, appeared to know nothing of the fast bowler's appointment in London. As far as they are concerned Riaz is available to play.
He was one of those named in the News of the World when they alleged misdeeds in the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan. Riaz made his Test debut in the match having played five one-day internationals in 2008. His jacket was reported to have been used to carry cash allegedly paid to some players for agreeing to bowl deliberate no-balls in the match. Three of them, the Test captain, Salman Butt, and the fast bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, have been suspended pending police and ICC investigations.
The announcement of the latest development by Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, was completely unexpected. At a hastily convened press briefing on his return to Pakistan, Butt also said no charges have been laid and that that the Board wants the suspended players to be allowed home.
In Chester-le-Street, the tour manager Yawar Saeed appeared nonplussed by the sudden emergence of Riaz's name. "Unless he's dropped, he will play," he said. If I'm told 'don't play X, Y, Z', they won't play. If I'm not told, I'll select the best team. But I've not been told anything. Let's wait. Yes, it's been a hard time. But we will do our best and continue to do our best."
Waqar Younis, the team coach, echoed those words. "We are trying to talk it out and make sure that we keep our focus to the cricket rather than thinking of anything else. It has been tough for the last 10 days – no, I would say more than that because of what's happening at home and the floods. It's been really tough, and it's been a long tour also.
"But we are a tough nation when it comes to this sort of situation," Waqar added. "We have to make sure that we stay focused on the game and deliver the goods in these five ODIs. The last two Twenty20s were not up to the mark."
Pakistan seem to be in disarray. Their predicament has deflected attention from the latest addition to the squad, who seems sure to appear during the series. Mohammad Irfan is reported to be 7 ft 1 ins in height, the tallest player to have played international cricket. He is also said to be seriously fast.Reuse content