Monday Jun 24, 2019
LONDON: Shadab Khan finally made his presence felt at the World Cup on Sunday when he played a key role in Pakistan’s vital 49-run win against South Africa at Lord’s.
The leggie has been touted as a match-winner since his emergence on the international stage back in 2017. But after grappling with illness in the lead up to the World Cup, the youngster made a relatively slow start to the tournament. He was dropped for the key game against Australia in Taunton despite taking 2-63 in an emphatic victory against England.
Shadab returned for the high stakes match against India at Old Trafford but was unable to really impress much (0-61) as Pakistan crashed to an 89-run defeat.
But on a Lord’s wicket, which he later acknowledged was assisting spinners, Shadab bowled an effective spell taking 3-50 and together with pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz kept South Africa at bay.
Shadab’s change is fortunes had much to do with changing weather conditions in England. The first of the World Cup was drenched in cold and wet weather but things are getting a lot drier here as summer has finally arrived.
That’s good news for World Cup’s spinners.
Shadab is hopeful of playing a key role in Pakistan’s World Cup campaign that has received a boost with Sunday’s win.
“Today’s pitch did offer some assistance to the spinners. I expect with changing weather thing will get better in the coming days. I will try to give my best for the team,” said Shadab after Sunday’s match.
Earlier, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur also predicted that changing English conditions could propel spinners to play a bigger role in World Cup second half.
“If the weather stays as it's supposed to, I think you're going to see spin come more and more into the game. I think the wickets are going to be dry,” he said.
“And that's the beauty about playing a World Cup in England is the conditions differ so much."
“I think squads are going to be tested more and more with their spinning ability and getting big runs and getting big runs on the board, and then putting pressure on the chase."
Meanwhile, Shadab promised that he and fellow team-mates will go all out in the remaining three must-win games in order to qualify for the semis.
“All these coming games are do-and-die ones for us. I’ll give my 110 percent in them,” he said.
Shadab, 20, is one of the youngest spinners at the World Cup that has seen some excellent performances from the likes of Imran Tahir, who was South Africa’s star performer in the match against Pakistan on Sunday.
“Wrist spinners are doing well in this tournament. I try to learn from their experience. Today, Imran Bhai bowled really well. When he was bowling I was watching closely and was learning how I should bowl on this wicket,” he said.