A dedicated Warne supporter who was on the verge of giving up leg spin is now regarded as a lynchpin and future captaincy candidate.
Rawalpindi’s Siddique Akbar Cricket Club was just around the curve from Shadab Khan’s former rental home. However, he always took the long route to the club. He was not very interested in playing with the hard ball,” he tells Islamabad United TV.
In addition, he feared getting caught in the nets. Even while attending the academy, he avoided the nets by “doing something or another.”
On his approach to the academy, he would stop at a local football field where the children of his age played. “Because he was more interested in playing football, he was selected for the Islamabad U-16 squad despite not having received any training. However, he did not go,” he explains.
Destiny has its route-
But, fate was determined otherwise. Shadab was practicing medium-pace bowling in the nets one day when club president Sajjad Ahmed noticed him. Instantaneously, he informed one of the instructors that the boy bowled well with wrist spin. “I observed that he had strong wrists, but he lacked the physique of a fast bowler. So, my initial instinct upon seeing him was that he would be more effective bowling leg-spin,” Ahmed reportedly told media.
Shadab, a hardworking and devoted youngster, would follow his coaches’ every instruction. He started bowling leg spin and eventually became obsessed with it. From Abdul Qadir and Anil Kumble to Shane Warne and Mushtaq Ahmed, he would spend countless hours pursuing the YouTube videos of the great leg-spinners of the past. He desired to bowl like Warne, so he began to mimic his movement. He believed, though, that he lacked the talent to be a Warne or even play for Pakistan.
“Playing for my country was never a fantasy since I honestly did not believe I possessed the necessary skills. Maximum U-19 level,” Shadab informs Zalmi Cricket.
Shadab a spinning allrounder-
Shadab no longer wanted to rip like Warne. Apart from the leg break, he also possessed a sniper-eyed wrong’un, a slick flipper, and a seam-up ball. The action became more pragmatic, whippier, and faster.
Like other leg-spinners, he bowls it out of the back of the hand, palms up, wrist 180 degrees to the ground. However, his arm speed makes hand-reading a challenge. He induces modest drift, mainly into right-handed hitters but sometimes away.
The flipper and seam-up are used sparingly in the Powerplay or as a change-up if he is struck. He bowls leg breaks, though not as much as Warne or Mushtaq. Former bowling coach, Mushtaq informed the PCB website that his bowling soul is accurate. He will bowl 100 balls in one area if asked.
Current players on Shadab-
His field enthusiasm is contagious. Shadab chats with the quick bowlers and skipper Babar Azam. “He has loads of ideas and is very sharp,” Jones remarked, naming him Pakistan’s future captain. He captains the Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League and is the team’s vice-captain at 24.
“He’s youthful, passionate, and a great communicator. You need a leader who is willing to talk to everyone during the tough times,” Islamabad United coach Luke Ronchi said.
Colin Munro, New Zealand opener said, “I’ve played under several captains. Shadab is a top captain. I like his calmness as a young commander”. “He calms us on the pitch. He calms you in the hectic T20 format. He calms the bowlers with his words,” praised Munro.