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‘You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain’
A quote tailor-made for Yasir Shah who was Pakistan’s ‘Go to man’ the last time they faced the Aussie challenge, currently finding himself in the reserves when Australia is back here for the historic tour.
On December 6, 2018, Yasir became the quickest to assemble 200 wickets in his 33rd test for the country. A record itself exhibiting the high caliber of his performances. He was even recognized by the late Shane Warne. Unfortunately for him and Pakistan, an endless slump both in form & fitness has been evident afterward.
Yasir Shah: Persistently Dipping Form in International Cricket
Since the beginning of the year 2019, Yasir’s form has been rather sedate, worrying, and far from his best. He managed only 1 wicket in the three innings against South Africa leading to him getting sidelined with Shadab Khan getting the opportunity in place.
Though he hasn’t been the first choice pick since, the on and off chances he got, Shah failed miserably to capitalize, a very unlike of the status he earned through his relentless performances.
The leg spinner acquired only 6 wickets in the 4 outings he had in the year 2019. The following year wasn’t much encouraging either as he managed a tally of 18 dismissals in 8 innings. In the year 2021, the leggie had limited opportunities as varying reasons kept him out of the national side. He managed 8 wickets in three tests, 7 out of them were against South Africa in the first test played in Karachi.
Also read: PCB accounces squads and schedule for 2022 Pakistan Cup
A deeper dig reveals that he in general has been equally ineffective in both home and foreign conditions in the period of the last 3 years. He gathered 18 wickets in 8 tests away from home, meanwhile managing 14 wickets in 4 home tests.
Lack of Domestic Cricket Exposure for Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah played only 8 games in the last 3 seasons of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. Missing out on huge bulk mainly due to personal reasons & injuries. Another aspect of his downfall as he failed to make a strong case for himself by going back to domestic cricket, proving his mettle. In the 13 innings he was in action, he took 37 wickets at an average of 34 with the economy on the higher side, 3.7 to be precise.
Yasir Shah in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy since 2019
|5-fers / 10-fers||2 / 0|
|Best Bowling in Innings||5-104|
|Best Bowling in Match||8-170|
He was part of 5 games in the 2019 season. Played only 2 matches in the 2020 season captaining the Balochistan side and left citing personal reasons. In the 2021 Quaid-e-Azam trophy, he missed out for the most part due to national duty. In simple terms, Confined opportunities to go back to basic cricket and re-polish few of the lost attributes.
Yasir Shah and his Fitness Issues and Off-field events
“He has been one of Pakistan’s best spinners and whenever he can regain fitness, we will be utilizing his expertise”
These were the words of the current captain of Pakistan when inquired about Yasir Shah before the first test against Australia in Rawalpindi. A clear indication that the spinner isn’t at his very best when it comes to physical fitness. Moreover, missing out on international tours like the one recently concluded in Bangladesh and domestic competitions presents a more clear picture in that very regard.
Yasir recently appeared to be in hot waters when he was named in FIR related to a rape case. Later he was cleared from all sorts of allegations. But the whole scenario didn’t favor much to the already shaken confidence of the veteran spinner.
There are established reasons behind Yasir Shah getting secondary importance in the current national setup. One among those is that Nauman Ali and Sajid Ali are putting their hands up through consistent performances. Both are successfully making it count and are rising through the ranks.
With Zahid Mehmood in the squad as the leg spin option, it seems that the management isn’t stuck with the thoughts of Yasir’s revival as the preferred option. And are rather indulged in moving on with newer names.
All this is apparently making it extremely compelling for Yasir Shah to regain the very charm he has been famous for. But with the quality he possesses, the magic and audacious spin he has been renowned for, there is always room for resurgence despite all the hurdles.