Islamabad United leg-spinner Shadab Khan might not have been there to amaze us in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) season had it not been for his liking for Australia great Shane Warne.
Shadab took up the game of cricket only after he watched the Aussie legspinner bamboozle the best batsmen in the world during his playing days.
“I was captivated by the way he delivered the ball. I started practicing for hours by imagining as if I was him,” Shadab told Dawn.
“Nobody said anything then and I became good enough to bowl in actual matches we played in those days,” he added.
Shadab was more than ‘good enough’ in the PSL 2, where, despite not finishing as one of the top wicket-takers of the tournament, he managed to catch the attention of fans, coaches and foreign players who featured — now, everybody was talking about him.
With his pace and spin variations — the googly being his major weapon, Shadab was hailed as a top find of the league. The 18-year-old was already a star.
“I was nervous at the start for obvious reasons — presence of so many stars whom I hardly knew before.”
How did he get used to the change?
“Misbah bhai told me to calm down and simply enjoy the limelight. Wasim Akram and Dean Jones were tremendous help. Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Sam Billings were also very supportive both on and off the field and get over my nervousness,” Shadab said.
Shadab, who has a quiet personality, was introduced in the cricketing world due to his performances during the ICC Under-19 World Cup last year of which, Pakistan reached the semi-finals.
Shadab later shined for Pakistan ‘A’ during their Zimbabwe tour.
The Mianwali born youngster, who now resides in Rawalpindi with his family, was called up for the Pakistan training camp ahead of the upcoming West Indies tour on Thursday.
“At this point in time I am actually lost for words and just don’t know what to say really. The feeling of joy is uncontrollable because my family is very happy for me,” Shadab said delightfully.
The legspinner was also picked by Caribbean Premier League side Tribago Knight Riders during the league’s draft process on Friday. Shadab will earn a hefty $30,000 during the six-week tournament set to be held this summer.