While the cricket-loving Twitterati are talking about the new facial hairdo of Peshawar Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz, the fast bowler seems to be enjoying his fans’ reaction.
Geo.tv caught up with the sportsman at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium after his team lost to Multan Sultans in the first match of the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) third season.
Referring to the numerous comments and messages on social media, we asked him what his secret was behind the new style he was sporting today.
Smiling shyly, Riaz said this is his way of showing his new “motivation” to everyone.
“I wish I can properly do, once again, in this PSL series, what Wahab Riaz is known for — my character [role] as a fast bowler,” he said.
“I hope it keeps reminding me of who I am, what I have to do in this tournament, and how I have to perform.”
When asked if Mitchell Johnson — a renowned Australian cricketer, who, like Riaz, is also a left-arm fast bowler — was the motivation behind his change of style, he responded in affirmative, noting how “Johnson is obviously the fastest bowler in the world”.
“See, it’s good to be inspired by anyone for anything that benefits you. And, if I’m inspired by Mitchell, then I’d love to say thank you to him.”
The change, quite literally, came overnight, we observed. So we inquired if this was a preplanned move or done in the heat of the moment.
“I had planned this beforehand, and obviously, I did this makeover right before I was due to arrive for the match … changed my facial hair.
Continuously grinning, he went on to say: “I was quite scared and nervous when I came to the stadium because I knew people would take and share pictures [of my new style].
“What made me apprehensive was people thinking I used my unique style as a show-off kind of thing,” he added.
“However, I’m thankful to Allah that the match started good, and that I got the chance to tell people that it’s an inspiration,” Riaz mentioned.
As for his current aims, he stated, “My goal as a fast bowler is that I perform well, give as few runs as possible [to the opposing team], bag more and more wickets, play a good role for my team.
“Peshawar Zalmi is my team, I’ve been playing for them for two years and I’ve been enjoying it,” he underscored, beaming with pride.
“I hope that I fulfil the responsibility — that I have on my shoulders — properly.”