Yasir Shah: Pakistan’s latest spin sensation

Pakistan  ICC  Pakistani team  Yasir Shah  Sri Lanka  Waqar Younis  Shabbir Ahmed  Saeed Ajmal  Shane Warne  cricket news

Age is just a number in the field of sports and many players have proved this right on a number of occasions. The growing age has not affected their performance and they have gone on to carve a niche for themselves. Pakistan as a cricketing nation has been struggling to play international cricket at home due to continuous terror attacks but this has not stopped them from giving breaks to talented cricketers one after another. Few days back when spinner Saeed Ajmal was handed a ban by the ICC for suspect bowling action, things were not looking good for the Pakistani team, as he was their star bowler. But the performance of Yasir Shah in the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka has given a new hope to the spin department of this nation. He does things the old fashioned way and has become the household name in Pakistan at an age of 29. In the second Test against Sri Lanka he became the fastest Pakistan bowler to capture 50 wickets - and it’s not as if he has done it against teams that play spin badly. Yasir achieved this milestone in his ninth Test match breaking the record of Waqar Younis, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammad Asif, who completed their half century of wickets in ten Test matches. It is not just numbers that defines his rise from being and ordinary spinner to becoming one of the best at the moment. He has completely replaced Saeed Ajmal as the leading spinner of the team and there is no way Ajmal can plant his foot back into the squad. This champion bowler has done basics right in the recent times. His formula is simple. He bowls legspin with drift and has the slider in his stock if the batsman starts playing him well.

 

The best part is his intensity and the will to fight till the end. Misbah-ul-Haq used him rigorously in the Test series but he never lost his momentum. Long spells and over upon over were not enough to hamper his spirit in the testing climatic conditions of Sri Lanka. The leg-spinner doesn’t have a great variety of wrong ones but still manages to take wickets with subtle changes in his line and length. The Sri Lankan batsmen tried everything against him but were not successful. After losing the first Test match, the home team captain Angelo Mathews had instructed his batsmen not to allow Yasir to settle down but they couldn’t keep the captain’s word as they once again found life difficult against him. The players who charged against him were undone by the flight while playing from the crease also led to the downfall of others. The catches in the slip cordon was a common sight whenever he was asked to bowl by the Pakistani captain. He ended as the leading wicket-taker in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, picking up 24 wickets in the process. He also picked up 3 consecutive Five Wicket Hauls in the series which further improved his Test Record. He was adjudged Man of the Series for his superb display of bowling. “I am playing my 10th game, I do not feel much pressure. People say I smile a lot that is my natural way. I have worked a lot on my action with Mushy bhai, worked on my googly and made my action repeatable. My target was to take 20 wickets. I bowl according to the wicket. In the second innings, I went around the wicket to make full use of the track” said Shah after receiving the award. Shane Warne was impressed when he saw him bowling against Australia in 2014.

 

“Just switched on the TV & watching Aus v Pak in Dubai. I like the look of this leggie Yasir Shah, plenty of energy & nice variations of pace,” Shane Warne, the former champion leg spinner had stated. He knew that Yasir has in him to become one of the best in the future and boy he has lived upto the expectations of great Shane Warne. “Shane Warne was my motivation. I started bowling leg breaks after watching him bowl on television. A friend of mine sent me a video of Warne from London and I used to watch it every day and tried to copy his action and the way he used to bowl. Warne was a legend and he is my idol,” Yasir had said after listening to Warne’s praise. Yasir’s immaculate control of length allows him to play with a batsman’s mind. He mixes up his deliveries pretty well, which makes a batsman struggle. However, he will have to keep improving as his real test lies ahead. Yasir has not played a Test outside the sub-continent and could become like R Ashwin, who has flopped miserably on foreign shores after lighting up the Asian tracks. Misbahul- Haq has used him well as both of them have played domestic cricket together. The current Pakistani captain is famous for leading spinners pretty well as he has done exceptional work with Saeed Ajmal in the past and now the same pattern has been followed with Yasir Shah. However, he is heading towards the end of his career and it will be interesting to see how well the new Pakistani skipper uses this new sensation in the future.





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