Pakistan cricket team has always been known for it’s bowling. The 90s and early 2000s were the era of fast bowlers. Shoaib Akhtar and the legendary Ws, Wasim and Waqar dominated our bowling line up.
Then came the era of spinners. Pakistan dominated oppositions in their make shift home in the Emirates. There also came a time when Pakistan used to play with three lethal spinners, the Doosra king Saeed Ajmal, the mighty Shahid Afridi and the left handers worst enemy, Hafeez.
But as they say, all good things come to an end. ICC started a crackdown on illegal bowling actions which ended Saeed Ajmal’s career and limited Hafeez to just a batsman who could bowl a little. Off spin was dead after this and leg spin was the new hot thing in the market. Yasir Shah emerged on the scene and took over right from where Saeed Ajmal left.
But unfortunately, he proved to be lethal only in the Test arena.
Pakistan went into the 2015 WC with Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah as their frontline spinners which obviously didn’t work out. Afridi retired from ODIs and Yasir was of no use with the white ball. Pakistan rotated the already tried and tested options throughout the year but nothing worked. As the situation was getting out of hands, PSL gave us our current spin twins, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim.
Shadab Khan, a young leggie who can a bat a bit too, quickly cemented his place in the team and became Sarfaraz’s strike bowler.
ICC World Cup 2019 is now just around the corner and all the teams have announced their 15 member squads. Pakistan’s squad looked debatably promising initially but then came the twist. Shadab Khan was withdrawn from the squad due to a medical condition and was replaced by Yasir Shah who was badly thrashed by Australia in the recent ODi series.
At first, PCB decided not to specify what kind of illness Shadab was suffering from, which sparked a controversy. Speculations were rife that Shadab’s dope test was positive and to save him from a long ban from the ICC, PCB played the illness trick.
This claim has now been rejected by the sources from Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore. Blood samples of all the players present in the camp were examined at Shaukat Khanum’s lab, where Shadab was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. It is reported that he got infected with the virus when he went through some treatment at a local dentist at his residential area in Rawalpindi during his rest period.
The current status is that Shadab is under treatment in England and Yasir Shah is getting thrashed regularly in the on going practice matches in the same country. It is apparent that Yasir Shah is of no good with the white ball. He lacks the variations, the massive leg breaks and the control on googlies for the limited overs game. Yasir is a gem in test cricket, but this is literally a different ball game.
Shadab Khan’s treatment is reported to be of three months. But he will be examined after 15 days and if declared fit to train, he might actually make it to the World Cup. But will he be able to give his 100% mentally after such ailment in such a young age?
Let’s hope he does, warna abhi bhi time hai, Shahid Afridi ko wapis bula lo yaar!