The South African had laid down the gauntlet to young leg-spinner Shadab Khan before the start of the team’s tour of Ireland and England. According to a report by Geo TV, Arthur had challenged Shadab to improve his batting on the tour. The 19-year-old had then told the coach that he would score three half-centuries in as many matches.
And that is exactly what Shadab did as the leg-spinner went on to register a half-century in each of the three Tests against Ireland and England.
In the one-off Test against Ireland in Dublin, the youngster rescued Pakistan from a perilous position in the first-innings with a maiden half-century (55). Shadab could be seen raising one finger towards the Pakistan dressing room indicating he had crossed the first hurdle.
At Lord’s against England in the first Test, Shadab repeated his feat with a knock of 52 in Pakistan’s nine-wicket win over the hosts. Here again, the leg-spinner raised two fingers towards the dressing room while completing the milestone.
In the second and final Test at Headingley, Shadab made it three fifties in three matches with a 56-run knock in the first innings. This time too, he would raise three fingers towards the dressing room indicating that the job had been done.
“He (Shadab) did what he said he would,” Arthur was quoted as saying after he honoured the bet and took the team out for dinner.
Pakistan are now scheduled to play two T20Is against Scotland at Edinburgh on June 12 and 13 to wrap up their extensive tour of the UK.
England bounced back from their nine-wicket thrashing at Lord’s to beat Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs in the second Test at Headingley on Sunday to square up the two-match series at 1-1.
Despite that chastening defeat, Sarfraz remained in a bullish mood with Pakistan’s progress over the summer which also included an one-off Test against Ireland at Dublin.
“When we came here people thought we will not win one game but the way we played at Lord’s everything was perfect, our fast bowling was perfect, our batting and fielding were perfect,” Sarfraz said after the defeat on Sunday.
“It’s disappointing that we had a chance to win the series but unfortunately we didn’t play well here,” he added.
Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas finished as the highest wicket-taker from either side in the series with 10 wickets while young leg-spinner Shadab Khan recorded three half-centuries in three Tests. Sarfraz reserved special praise for the two players in his post-match comments.
“I am proud of my young team, the way Abbas is bowling, Shadab is doing well, Faheem Ashraf did well, so I’m really disappointed that we didn’t win [at Headingley] but 1-1 is good for us,” he stated.
While the form of the youngsters was highly encouraging, the display of some senior squad members including Azhar Ali and Sarfraz himself fell way short of expectations. Sarfraz acknowledged his own poor-show and expressed confidence in Azhar finding form again.
“Azhar is our main batsman, it’s correct he is not in good nick but he scored a good fifty at Lord’s. I am not satisfied with my batting in the series. I committed mistakes and played a few bad shots,” the Pakistan skipper explained.
Pakistan will now embark for Edinburgh where they are slated to play two T20Is against Scotland on June 12 and 13.
Despite the chastening defeat at Leeds, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men can hold their heads high after beating Ireland in the one-off historic Test at Dublin and thrashing England by nine wickets at Lord’s.
It was a Pakistan side filled with many young faces who were just making their baby steps in Test cricket. Here, we take a look at how these Pakistan youngsters performed on the tour.
The nephew of former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq made his Test bow for Pakistan in the match against Ireland. The 22-year-old opening batsman gave a good account of himself in the two tour matches against Kent and Leicestershire where he registered two half-centuries.
Imam’s match against Ireland was an eventful one and resulted in a fine unbeaten 74 in the second innings which took the visitors to victory. He was unable to repeat those heroics in the England series with a highest score of 34 in four innings. Nevertheless, the youngster has shown plenty of promising signs for a bright future in the opening spot for Pakistan.
Prior to the tour of Ireland and England, Hasan Ali had played just one sole Test for Pakistan against the West Indies last year.
Though the pacer was not selected for the Ireland Test, he grabbed his chance in England with a four-wicket haul in the first innings at Lord’s. That was the high point for Ali in the tour with it all going downhill thereafter.
While he did pick up two wickets in Headingley, the pacer’s dropped catch of Jos Buttler proved to be a highly costly one for his side. Showed a lot of encouraging signs but lacked the consistency.
The 24-year-old all-rounder has seen plenty of limited-overs action for Pakistan in the past and was finally given his Test debut in the Test against Ireland. Ashraf made an instant impact by scoring a highly vital 83 in the first-innings after Pakistan were in all sorts of trouble.
The all-rounder carried that form to the England leg where he chipped in with both bat and ball. He claimed five wickets in all during the three Tests and has given Pakistan a handy fourth seamer option. His ability to make valuable contributions with the bat down the order was pleasing to watch and he could be one player the Pakistan set-up could look to groom as the designated all-rounder for the future.
Like Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan had played just the sole Test prior to departure for Ireland and England. He was only given this opportunity after an injury to fellow leg-spinner Yasir Shah but young Shadab’s performances on the tour made sure that the senior bowler was hardly missed.
More than his leg-spin, it was the 19-year-old’s showing with the bat that has found him many new admirers. With three half-centuries in the three Tests, Shadab has shown some genuine all-round credentials which will excite the Pakistan think tank no end.
The youngster picked up seven wickets in the three Tests but also finished with a 10-wicket haul in Pakistan’s tour match against Northamptonshire. He showed no signs of nerves as a youngster on his first England tour which is always a great sign for a player.