Yasir Shah has been Pakistan’s star test bowler for a fairly long time. Team depended on him to win them games, and he delivered more often than not. The longevity of his spells, the potency of his straighter ones, will definitely be missed. Since his debut, barring that Australia tour, Yasir Shah has been the strike bowler and the holder. So, when the news of his injury came out, it was a devastating blow to the Sarafraz 11.
Who do they replace him with? Mohammad Irfan Junior, Kashif Bhatti and one or two other names came up. But the selectors and team management decided to go with international experience of Shadab Khan. The start of the tour was encouraging with a 10 wicket haul. Whenever, there is a discussion as to why English struggle to produce quality spinners, one of the answers is they play a lot of county cricket on green wickets in April and May. Shadab dismissed that idea to a degree.
But the questions were more for the England series and not for Ireland. However, our batting prowess ensured that Shadab was to be tested, with the bat. 159-6 against debut nation, was not a pleasing sight. It could have gone wrong, very wrong. But for Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf. While, Faheem was expressive, Shadab Khan held one end up. Ashraf presented a few chances, Shadab was much more circumspect. The highlight of his 55 runs were for me his back foot punches. The bowlers were relatively slow, staying back gave him a chance to survive and score some runs.
The intelligence shown by Shadab Khan was well beyond his years. It bodes well for the 2 follow up test matches. If he is decent, Pakistan may have found the UAE bowling partner to Yasir Shah.