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Pakistan suffered a huge blow when their star spinner Saeed Ajmal was banned from cricket for an illegal bowling action. However, Yasir Shah made sure that Pakistan did not miss him much.
Since his debut two years ago at the age of 28, Yasir has become the quickest Pakistan bowler to 50 Test wickets, reaching the landmark in just nine matches.
He has also played a leading role in three series triumphs; in his debut series against Australia (12 wickets in two Tests), in Sri Lanka (24 wickets in three Tests) and, most ominously, against England in the UAE last winter (15 wickets in just two Tests).
And legendary Pakistani leg-spinner Abdul Qadir has said that Yasir Shah can play a starring role in England. Back in the national team after a three-month doping ban, Yasir will be a key member of Pakistan’s bowling department.
In an interview with the Dawn, Qadir said that Yasir can lead the Pakistani attack.
“If there is turn in the English wickets then Yasir will lead the attack and the other bowlers will play a supporting role,” Qadir told Dawn from Lahore on Wednesday.
“I have seen some recent T20s in England and the ball is still swinging in the air.”
In English conditions, the seam bowlers have traditionally prospered while the spinners struggle. And Qadir accepted the fact that if the conditions do not support Yasir then he will struggle.
“If there is no break in the wicket then Yasir will struggle,” he said. “He would have to bowl longer spells in the anticipation of lateral movement off the wicket.
“In this scenario, it would become easy for the Englishmen to negotiate his spin as they will only have to plant their feet in the line of the ball.”
“He will struggle to utilise his leg-spin, googly, and flippers if the English curators leave grass on the wicket. Then Yasir’s utility will only be limited to provide seam bowlers long rests.”
Pakistan’s track record in England is not impressive as their last Test series win came two decades ago, way back in 1996. When quizzed about Pakistan’s chances in the upcoming series, Qadir said that while Pakistan’s bowling looks strong, the batsmen’s inconsistency is a major concern.
“Pakistan’s bowling attack is much better than England’s on paper. But inconsistency and unpredictability of our batsmen worry me. I say this with a heavy heart that every time Pakistan seems to be a better side, the batting department lets us down and remains under scrutiny because of its failures,” Qadir said.