Lahore: Ahead of England tour, Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz on Monday said he is willing to return to the Test side "if required" in the English conditions.
In September 2019, Riaz took the indefinite break from the red-ball cricket to focus on the shortest format of the game. He has been named in the 29-player combined squad for a series of three Tests and T20Is in England commencing from July 30.
"I am very excited to be a part of this England tour. As you know this tour is being carried on in very unusual circumstances. I was called by the PCB to enquire if I am available to play Test cricket if required on a replacement basis. I straight away said yes because my priority ultimately is to play for Pakistan," Wahab said in a video conference.
The 34-year-old speedster has been in the national circuit since 2008 but hasn't quite managed a consistent run in the Pakistan team. His selection had often been based on his ability to generate reverse-swing at a high pace, and his call-ups were often conditions-dependent.
"Between 2016 and 2019, I played in patches, but even after I performed against Sri Lanka, I wasn't the part of next tour. I was called up to play against Australia midway, I was sent back by the then-management. That made me think I wasn't up to a high enough standard to play Test cricket," Riaz said.
"But that was way before Misbah and Waqar were brought in at the helm. So I had made a decision speaking with the PCB higher management that I haven't been playing ample Test cricket for a while and I voluntarily distance myself from this format and decided to concentrate on white-ball cricket," he added.
The seamer has played 27 Tests, 89 ODIs and 31 T20Is and scalped 228 wickets across all formats of the game.
"When I spoke to the management, they asked me not to retire completely but take time off instead. And today, in light of those discussions I am able to come back which is a good thing. I never take a decision in haste to regret later. When they communicated with me about this tour, I agreed without even thinking because this is an opportunity to represent Pakistan. The important thing is they need me and I am ready," Riaz said.
Pakistan's combined squad for three Tests and three T20Is against England is as follows:
Openers - Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood.
Middle-order batsmen - Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam (Test vice-captain and T20I captain), Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, and Shoaib Malik.
Wicketkeepers - Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Fast bowlers - Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz.
Spinners - Imad Wasim, Kashif Bhatti, Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah.
The selectors have also named four reserves Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz as a cover in case any of the players fail pre-tour COVID-19 testing, which will be carried out on June 20 and 25.