Pakistan’s chief selector and former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq confirmed the news of Shah’s injury to the media on Monday.
“Yasir is ruled out of the Ireland and England Test tours and it’s a big blow. It’s a big loss for the team,” he stated.
The leg-spinner is a vital cog in the Pakistan Test outfit having picked up 165 wickets in just 28 Tests since making his debut against Australia in 2014. The 31-year-old is the second fastest bowler from his country to notch up 150 Test wickets, achieving the figure in just 27 matches.
Medical reports have confirmed that the leg-spinner has suffered a hip bone stress fracture and he is expected to be ruled out for at least 10 weeks to complete his rehabilitation from the injury.
Pakistan are set to become Ireland’s first Test opponents since being awarded a full ICC Membership last year when the two sides meet on May 11 at Dublin. Following the Ireland leg, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men will be travelling to neighbouring England to play two Tests which will be held at the Lord’s at London and Headingley in Leeds.
In Shah’s absence, Pakistan have called up teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan along with Bilal Asif and Kashif Bhatti to the team’s fitness camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) at Lahore.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed took pot-shots at the behaviour of the Indian team, saying their players are abusive out of habit. The wicket-keeper batsman added that if he had been caught on camera using abusive language, he would have been in deep trouble.
Speaking to Pakistan’s Samaa TV channel, Sarfraz pointed to two particular incidents during India’s tour of South Africa earlier in the year. There, during the Test series, India captain Virat Kohli was caught on stump mic using ‘colourful’ language while talking to his batting partner Murali Vijay while wicket-keeper MS Dhoni was captured on camera lashing out at fellow batsman Manish Pandey during the T20 series.
Sarfraz said that is how Indian cricketers generally speak on the field.
“That’s the issue. When Kohli says then people like it. But when we say it, people say ‘look they are abusing’. Boss, they abuse a lot. They abuse even while speaking normally. We even saw Dhoni,” Sarfraz said during a TV interview.
The Pakistan captain said India didn’t get any chance to abuse Pakistan players during the Champions Trophy in England as his team dominated the entire match.
“In Champions Trophy we didn’t give them any chance to even think. Fakhar Zaman had taken the game so far away in 10-15 overs.
“If Sarfraz had abused, it would been on Twitter. This is how they (Indians) talk. If you want to, ready Kohli’s lip sync (sic).”
Pakistan players have not participated in the IPL following the inaugural edition in 2008 owing to tensions between the governments of the two neighbouring countries.
Pakistan tightened their grip on the No1 ICC ranking in T20I cricket with a 3-0 clean sweep of the recent three-match series against the West Indies in Karachi. Waqar, a legend of Pakistan cricket and a former coach, is of the opinion that concentrating on international cricket has benefited Sarfraz Ahmed and his side tremendously.
“The reason why our team is number one in T20Is is because our guys don’t participate in IPL,” Waqar was quoted as saying by the Pakistan media.
“Because of not playing IPL, our boys are down to earth and they want to play international cricket. When a kid starts to play cricket, he doesn’t do it thinking he will earn millions. Instead, he does that because of his love for cricket,” he added.
“The priority now is IPL where a cricketer can earn $2 million whereas here he will get $25k here (coming to Pakistan). There is a lot of money now in cricket and a few leagues have sprung up but it’s the responsibility of cricket boards to make sure that international cricket does not die out.”
Whether the former Pakistan skipper is correct is a matter of debate but for now Pakistan are flying in limited-overs cricket, especially the T20 format. Meanwhile, the IPL is all set to get underway on Saturday with Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings. There are once again, no Pakistan players in the fray for this year’s edition.