Undoubtedly the key part of Pakistan’s success in the mid-2010s, making the national side unbeatable on the shores of UAE with his leg-spin but now the action has permanently shifted back home, the 34-year-old Yasir Shah’s spot in the Test side hangs in balance.
This thought came for Yasir after he was dropped from the second Test against New Zealand at Hagley Oval, Christchurch when the team management led by Misbah-ul-Haq awarded Test cap to Zafar Gohar, who according to new chief selector Wasim Khan ‘is not ready for Test cricket’.
This question wasn’t on the cards when Pakistan were regularly playing in the UAE as he mastered those pitches. Out of 227 wickets, 116 are in UAE in just mere 17 Tests but his exclusion from the side after the Test cricket return in Pakistan last year, indicated that he is no longer a ‘regular choice for Pakistan’ as Usman Khan Shinwari replaced him in Rawalpindi in first Test against Sri Lanka.
‘Always smiling’ Yasir was sent back to the National High-Performance Center (NHPC) to correct his basics and learn the art of bowling in these conditions under Mushtaq Ahmed.
Yasir himself is keen to make a statement in the Test series against Pakistan but he also knows that the inclusion of uncapped Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan in the squad, refers that the home team will go with two spinners in Karachi Test but in Rawalpindi, it’s obvious that the best performer out of two will play the following.
While talking to media yesterday ahead of the first Pakistan-South Africa Test in Karachi, he opined that bowler’s performance is linked to conditions available and if Karachi offers him the platform to showcase his worth, his point of ‘cricket left in him’ will be proved.
“I am fit and playing. I know that I am 34 but I am doing well for the team. I will try to prove my worth in this series and try to prove here that I still have cricket left in me,” he said.
As Pakistan shifts their regular practice at home with Wasim now heading the selection panel and potentially the last chance for Misbah (Yasir’s biggest admirer) and co to certify authority, his fans hoping that it’s not a ‘Goodbye’ for the little man.