Wahab Riaz and Shane Watson make up for on-field altercation; Brian Lara wants to pay Riaz fine
West Indies legend Brian Lara has slammed the ICC for punishing Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz for his excessive aggression in the bowling spell which struck fear down Australian spines and left Shane Watson feeling not quite at home – only somehow fending off a barrage of short-pitched stuff – in one of the most entertaining passages from 2015 World Cup yet.
Subsequently, Watson was fined 15% of his match fees for "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game" while Wahab, who finished with 2-34 from nine overs, was fined 50% of his match fees on the charge of "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting".
ICC’s coming down on Riaz for his aggression has incensed Lara.
“We are all entertainers. That to me was one of the highlights of the World Cup. A guy running in bowling at 150km/h plus and Watson looked like he was at school.
"It's just unbelievable that that's the end result ... both were fined. I don't know what the ICC is thinking. It's just uncalled for. We need this in a sport, especially 50-over cricket.
“I loved the exchange. It was above board as far as I'm concerned and I can't wait to meet him. I want to meet with [this] Riaz guy. I'll pay the fine for him."
The Riaz-Watson duel
Watson and Riaz have since made up on Twitter, lauding each other for playing a part in one of the best duels of this World Cup. Riaz would have claimed Watson’s wicket had the ball not slipped through Rahat Ali’s fingers at deep fine leg; eventually Watson’s 66-ball 64 provided the anchor for the Australian chase.
After the match, the Pakistan paceman revealed that he had been inspired by a chat with Watson during his own time at the crease.
"When I was batting Watson just came up to me and said, 'Are you holding a bat?' And that was going through my mind," Wahab said.
"I let him know that even he was having the bat, but he couldn't touch the ball.”