Don’t rush Shadab into Tests, warns spin legend

KARACHI, Pakistan, CMC — Former convenor of selectors, Iqbal Qasim, has warned against rushing 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan into the Test series against West Indies.

Shadab was a stand-out in the just concluded four-match Twenty20 series, taking 10 wickets to earn Man-of-the-Series honours.

However, Iqbal said selectors needed to be patient with the young player, especially with the temptation of the three-match series looming later this month.

“They [selectors] should not indulge in experiments at this point in time because I feel Shadab should not be put under unnecessary pressure,” said the spin legend, who took 171 wickets in 50 Tests between 1976 to 1988.

“He is still very raw at international level and we must let him graduate gradually. This is something I’m emphasising from experience. Thus far, the selectors have done well. There is lot of purpose and direction from them.”

Shadab snatched three wickets in the opening T20 in Barbados and followed up with four in the second in Trinidad, in two Man-of-the-Match performances that helped Pakistan take a 2-0 lead in the series.

On both occasions, he bamboozled the West Indies batsmen to good effect, while putting his name firmly in the selectors’ minds for the upcoming Test series.

Iqbal, however, said the experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah should be given the frontline role for the Caribbean trip.

“In my opinion, one just cannot write off Yasir. He has been a match-winner since he first played for Pakistan and we shouldn’t negate his contribution,” Iqbal argued.

“The Australia tour would have given Yasir something to think about. You can’t be hoping to take wickets in big numbers all the time.

“There will be days one bowls exceptionally well for no reward and then on some, he may not be bowling well as he would like, but yet takes more wickets. He is how the game goes on.”

Iqbal also made a plug for seamer Sohail Khan, noting that his current domestic form merited selection for the Test series against West Indies.

“I think Pakistan can make good use of his vast experience of first-class cricket,” he said.

“The selectors may have had a reason not to pick Sohail for limited-overs matches but being the leading Pakistan Super League wicket-taker, Sohail surely should be brought back for the Test series.”

Pakistan face West Indies in the first Test at Sabina Park in Kingston starting April 22.

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