LAHORE: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah’s return to the Pakistan side ahead of their tour to Zimbabwe is not a matter of worry for his junior colleague Shadab Khan, a wrist-spinner himself.
Shah, due to a hip injury, was ruled out of Pakistan’s recent campaign in the United Kingdom consisting of a Test match against Ireland, two Tests against England and two Twenty20 Internationals against Scotland.
However, the 32-year-old was named in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming five-match One-day International series against Zimbabwe, who will also host a tri-nation T20I series involving Australia along with Pakistan.
Shah’s inclusion means Shadab can possibly face competition for a place in the side and with the World Cup looming, it can be a tough situation for the young cricketer.
However, the Mianwali-born all-rounder wished Shah fares well on his return and that he doesn’t fear losing his place in the national side.
”I have no fear about Yasir’s return to the national side, rather I wish Yasir becomes the highest wicket-taker in Zimbabwe,” said Shadab.
“It will also be luck which decides for the player if he is going to feature in next year ‘s World Cup,” added the 19-year-old.
Shadab said former Pakistan sides have been known for keeping more than two spinners in the squad which is another assurance he will stay with the team if he keeps performing.
Shadab said he will try to knock Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan out of the top spot of the International Cricket Council T20I bowler tankings. Shadab sits second currently.
“Rashid has been doing well in both T20I and ODI formats. I’ll try to perform well and get to the top in the ranking,” he said.
The youngster, who is quickly establishing himself as a decent all-rounder, revealed the reasons behind his impressive batting performances during the recent tour to the British Isles.
Shadab said he bet with head coach Mickey Arthur that he will improve and score three half-centuries at the tour after a difficult training camp.
“During the training camp ahead of the tour, I was not performing that well. I bet with Mickey before departing that I will score three fifties,” he said.
Shadab ended up fulfilling his promise by scoring fifties in all three Tests the team played.
The Islamabad United player said the use of two new balls in ODI cricket was not a problem for him and that this rule was there even before he played his first international game.
Shadab admitted the Pakistan Super League played a major role in making him a confident and smart sportsman.
He believed Pakistan had a very good chance to beat Australia and hosts Zimbabwe to take the upcoming tri-nation series and that the team which plays well on the day will win the matches.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018