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Wahab Riaz rates Rohit, Babar as current top batters, Bumrah, Shaheen best pacers

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Colombo, Dec 13 (IANS) Jaffna Kings fast bowler Wahab Riaz, who has so far picked five wickets in three games at the ongoing Lanka Premier League 2021 season, named his picks for top fast bowlers and batsmen in the world at the moment, and he included India pacer Jasprit Bumrah and opening batter Rohit Sharma in the list.

In a recent interaction, Riaz was asked to name some of the best fast bowlers in the world at the moment, and he went on to praise Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mitchell Starc.

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“They have a lot of capability. They read the game and execute their plans really well. If they require yorkers, or if they require slow ones, they would read the wicket and bowl accordingly,” Riaz said.

The Pakistan speedster was also asked to name the batsmen he finds difficult to bowl to and he picked AB de Villiers’ and also explained the reasons behind the same.

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“There are a lot of such players like Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam who are hard to bowl to. But one player I have always been afraid to bowl to is AB de Villiers. He always knows what is coming next from me. He reads the game well, and always plays well against me,” Riaz added.

The Pakistan speedster further went on to describe his Jaffna Kings teammate Wanindu Hasaranga as the best leg-spinner in the world right now and credited him for the team’s success this season so far.

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“If I am honest, Wanindu Hasaranga is one of the best leg-spinners right now in the world. Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana have been really good this season for our team. They really set the tones in the powerplay overs by taking wickets and restricting the opposition,” Riaz said.

Kings have won 4 out of 5 games so far in the season and are currently lying at the top of the table. The defending champions Kings had lost their first game against Galle Gladiators but have bounced back superbly since then.

“We learned from the mistakes we made in our first match. Now we are trying to cover all those basics. Everybody is ticking every box and that’s why we are winning as a team,” Riaz said.

Riaz further went on to praise the Kings management for packing up a stacked squad this season with plenty of options on the bench.

“Hats off to Jaffna coach and captain who have selected this team knowing the conditions and what combinations this team needs. The good thing is that everybody is responding well to all of them,” Riaz said.

Speaking on the team’s game plan to defend the title, Riaz said that they are making plans game by game and not thinking far ahead.

“You have to play good cricket throughout the tournament. You cannot say you are the favourites in the tournament as that can put you on the back foot. I can see the hunger in boys to win. We are thinking about one game at a time. We are not thinking about championship or too far ahead,” he said.

The veteran pacer further went on to praise the Lanka Premier League tournament for giving a chance to youngsters to learn from some of the best cricketers in the world.

“It’s great exposure for youngsters as they will learn to play against some of the best players in the world. They will share the dressing room with senior players like Thisara Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, and gain experience. That is the exposure you require to make an impact at the international stage,” he signed off.

–IANS

cs/akm

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