Yasir can spearhead bowling attack: Qadir
KARACHI: With Mohammad Amir’s return to Test cricket in Thursday’s first Test at Lord’s hogging the limelight, Yasir Shah’s comeback has been put in the shade.
The leg-spinner returns from a three-month doping ban and will be a key component of Pakistan’s bowling attack alongside paceman Amir who returns to the longest format of the game after a six-year hiatus following the infamous spot-fixing scandal that marred Pakistan’s last tour of England.
Since his Test debut in 2014, the Swabi-born Yasir has bagged 76 wickets in 12 Tests — showing his prowess against the likes of Australia and England in the United Arab Emirates — and is expected to wreak havoc on British shores.
Among those pinning hopes on Yasir is Pakistan’s legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir who believes the 30-year-old can lead Pakistan’s attack.
“If there is turn in the English wickets then Yasir will lead the attack and the other bowlers will play a supporting role,” Qadir told Dawn from Lahore on Wednesday.
“I have seen some recent T20s in England and the ball is still swinging in the air.”
With the Lord’s Test being Yasir’s first outside Asia, Qadir termed it “would be interesting to see how he fares in the England series”.
He was, however, concerned for Yasir in case the lively English wickets did not help him.
“If there is no break in the wicket then Yasir will struggle,” he said. “He would have to bowl longer spells in the anticipation of lateral movement off the wicket.
“In this scenario, it would become easy for the Englishmen to negotiate his spin as they will only have to plant their feet in the line of the ball.”
Yasir returned match figures of 6-117 in Pakistan’s first tour match against Somerset last week.
After bowling 10-overs in the first innings, Yasir bowled 32 overs in the second innings and bagged four scalps.
Qadir feels that the nature of wickets will determine Yasir’s success on the tour.
“He will struggle to utilise his leg-spin, googly, and flippers if the English curators leave grass on the wicket. Then Yasir’s utility will only be limited to provide seam bowlers long rests.”
Qadir had an outstanding career against England — out of his 368 wickets, 105 scalps were of Englishmen — and he hopes England’s inability to cope with spin bowling will put the odds in Yasir’s favour.
“England have struggled against the leg-spinners in every part of the world,” he said.
“They have produced remarkable pace bowlers, but it is the leg-spinner who wins the game after the fast bowlers.”
Talking about Pakistan’s chances of ending the 20-year-long series win drought in England, Qadir said Pakistan seem strong on paper and the national side has an edge in the form of Yasir over the hosts.
“Pakistan’s bowling attack is much better than England’s on paper,” he said. “But inconsistency and unpredictability of our batsmen worry me.
“I say this with a heavy heart that every time Pakistan seems to be a better side, the batting department lets us down and remains under scrutiny because of its failures.”