It took Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah just nine Test matches and a rich haul against Sri Lanka to grab the No. 9 spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) ranking for top 10 Test bowlers.
The 29-year-old leggie, who hails from Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has 54 wickets in his bucket at an impressive average of 25.11, which also includes three five-wicket and three four-wicket hauls.
In the ongoing series against Sri Lanka, Shah’s seven-wicket haul in Sri Lanka’s second innings fashioned Pakistan a 10-wicket victory in the first Test in Galle.
Shah’s dismissal of Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews gave him his 50th wicket, making him the fastest among Pakistani bowlers to reach the mark.
He was Sri Lanka’s tormentor yet again with 8/151 in the second Test but poor batting cost Pakistan the match.
‘I try to copy Shane Warne’
Shah grew up in Swabi but had to play his cricket in Peshawar, 100 km away.
“There were no grounds in Swabi so I had to go to Peshawar academy to play,” said Shah. “Shane Warne was my motivation, I started bowling leg breaks after watching him bowl on TV.
“And then my brother sent me a video of Warne from London and I used to watch it every day and tried to copy his action and the way he used to bowl. Warne was a legend so he was my idol.”
Australian legend Warne, who was following the 2014 Pakistan-Australia Test series on television, was impressed by what he saw.
He had tweeted after watching Shah bowl: “I like the look of this leggie Yasir Shah, plenty of energy and nice variations of pace.”
2015 Kashmir Despatch