Lahore (APP): Teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan, another talented Pearl in Pakistan’s Crown, making history in the world of international cricket, by taking 10 wickets in T20 International against West Indies.
The 18-year-old, prominent star of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017, made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut for Pakistan against the West Indies on 26 March and could hardly have been more impressive, capturing 10 wickets against the world champions to be named player of the series and recorded the most economical figures for a bowler completing his four overs on debut in a T20I.
His main attacking weapon is the googly — a delivery that spins from the off side towards leg — baffling batsmen expecting the ball to turn the other way.
Shadab told Associated Press from Guyana on Monday, “I know my googlies are getting famous, but that's not the only one.”
“I really work hard on leg-spin and flippers too and will try to be the best in all three varieties.”
Shadab caught the attention of the senior national selectors when he played in the PSL for defending champions Islamabad United led by test captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
His took nine wickets in eight matches and was rewarded for his efforts by being fast-tracked into the Pakistan limited-overs squad for the series against the West Indies.
Pakistan's limited-overs captain Sarfraz Ahmed expects Shadab could play test matches in the near future if he continues his rapid progression.
Shadab further said, “I believe that if I put in more hard work, I will definitely get more rewards in international cricket.”
A reluctant spinner, Shadab comes from Mianwali, which is also the home town of Misbah and Pakistan's World Cup winning skipper Imran Khan.
It was only when he was at the Siddique Akbar Club in Rawalpindi that he was spotted by the club's president Sajjad Ahmed, who encouraged him to try wrist spin.
“When I started playing club cricket I used to be a fast bowler,” Shadab said. “But then our president of the club told me to start bowling leg-spin and I started working hard on this art.”
Ahmed said he immediately knew Shadab had the talent to play at the highest level.
Ahmed told the AP, “He worked hard and I knew that he would get his chance at international level.”
In 2015, Shadab was part of the Pakistan Under-17 team which played against England in the United Arab Emirates. He took 10 wickets in four one-day games.
Last year, he was the joint leading wicket-taker with 11 wickets at the Under-19 World Cup. He was promoted to the Pakistan A team and made his first class debut against Sri Lanka, scoring 48 runs and taking five wickets. Then he followed that by taking 14 wickets and hitting 132 runs in the series against Zimbabwe A.
Shadab has been fine-tuning his skills under the guidance of United's coaches Dean Jones and Wasim Akram and also with Mushtaq Ahmed at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.
“I used to bowl wide of the crease and later I was taught by Dean Jones which has benefited me a lot.”
The former Australian international batsman Jones said he could not be more impressed by the attributes he sees in Shadab and admitted that Pakistan have special talent.