From Swabi to Lord’s, and from Lord’s to being named by the ICC as the world’s No. 1 Test bowler, toppling wizards like England’s James Anderson and SCJ Broad, as well as India’s R. Ashwin, is a meteoric rise indeed, and if anyone deserves to be at that place – it’s Yasir Shah!
The small-town boy who left his hometown in pursuit of his dream of becoming a professional cricketer has made many sacrifices to reach his goal. He left his hometown to relocate to Peshawar, then Karachi, spending years away from his family and enduring many a hardship but never giving up.
Using Shane Warne videos as tutorials to hone his craft, Yasir made it into the league cricket scene, then represented Pakistan against Zimbabwe in 2011, but his performance was unremarkable. In 2014, the big breakthrough came when he was called again into the national side to play against Australia. This time he made his critics sit up and take notice.
At his debut at Lord’s, Yasir made it to the ‘Honour Board’ in cricket’s most revered venue, an achievement even his ‘idol’ Shane Warne hasn’t been able to accomplish. He attributed his success to his mentors, bowling coach Mushtaq and manager Intikhab Alam, who themselves were legendary spinners in their time. Incidentally, Mushtaq himself occupied the ICC top position twenty years ago; Yasir is the first Pakistani since two decades who has climbed up there.
From making a grand entry at Lord’s, to leading his team to victory there with his 10-wicket haul, to becoming the world’s best Test bowler, it’s been a heady mix for Yasir Shah this week.
Now, all he needs to do is take a tip from his captain Misbah-ul-Haq to ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ – as the skipper’s career testifies, there’s no better way to move forward.