Yasir Shah has just been a revelation. The aggressive leg spinner from Pakistan already has 69 test scalps to his name in just 11 matches. The Pakistani wrist spinner is at the peak of his game and he currently is Pakistan’s best bowler. The talented wrist spinner opened up about his career in a recent interview with Cricbuzz and spoke at length. Below, are the excerpts from the interview:
Less than a year after your debut, Pakistan drew a match and the response from everyone was “if only Yasir had been playing, things would have been different.” Did you ever expect to be this important this early? Did you think on your debut that you’d be here within twelve months?
Hah. Not really. I am just doing all I can, the rest is God’s will, I guess. When I made my debut, I didn’t have the greatest of starts. The first day I bowled a couple of overs, bowled decently but the Australians went after me. I was nervous before that Test, and after that day’s play I was a bit down. But that night Wiki bhai Waqar Younis and Mushy bhai Mushtaq Ahmed told me to keep my chin up. They told me the Australians were playing aggressively against me, playing shots against me, only because they were afraid of me. They wanted to suppress and counter me before I had a chance to settle. So I got a lot of confidence from what they said. And the next day, I bowled with even more belief, and got Steven Smith and David Warner out, and I knew I belonged at this level. Now, I just want to keep improving all the time and serve my team.
You made your international debut in 2011, then your Test debut in 2014, and now you are ranked second in the world – how would you differentiate these three bowlers?
I am a different bowler to what I was in 2011. Before that series against Zimbabwe, I had only played domestic cricket and had success there. But I realized during that tour that international cricket requires a different level. Even though it was only Zimbabwe, I learnt that you had to be at the batsmen all the time, how you needed to vary your lengths and spin, how your training and preparation had to be top notch, and how everything around the match needed to be so much better. So when I was dropped after that, I went back and played every domestic match with that mindset, as if it was an international match. And due to that, I improved as a bowler, and continue to do so.
There have been doubts raised throughout your international career about the sort of leg-spinner you are – the fact that you didn’t possess a googly was held against you by many in Pakistan, does that bother you?
You see, since I have been in the team Mushy bhai’s been there, too, and he is a great leg spinner. Then look at what Shane Warne has said about me, and he’s my hero and the greatest leg spinner. So when people like this are praising you, why should I care about what the others say? What people in the media talk about my bowling, I am not really affected by it at all.
And there have been doubts about your efficacy outside Asia, because all your wickets have been in Asia…
And all my matches have been in Asia, too, right? Jab kheloon ga to pata chalega na? (I will know when I will play, right?) If I get a chance to play outside, God willing, I can succeed there, too.
For all your success in Tests, you still haven’t made that great a mark in ODI cricket. And how did the exclusion from the World Cup affect you?
In ODI cricket, you have to be a different bowler, you really don’t have any time. You have to apply far more variations and fool the batsman, you have to contain and attack at the same time. In Tests, you have the time to build a spell, and rely on your stock ball. As for the World Cup, of course it was disappointing. But we had senior players like Shahid bhai and others ahead of me. I just played one match, and I did all I could in training and nets after that. But unfortunately just couldn’t break into the team.