RAWALPINDI: Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah is eager to represent the national side after nearly a year’s gap when they tour Sri Lanka for a two-match Test series next month.
The 36-year-old, whose previous appearance for Pakistan was against the West Indies in August last year, was included in the squad for the Sri Lanka series following 12 months of struggle with injury and fitness.
During the period he was also named in a rape case, though the charges against him were later dropped.
“I’m grateful to be back with the team and enjoyed training with the squad today in the nets,” Yasir told reporters on the sidelines of Pakistan’s preparatory camp for the series on Sunday.
Yasir boasts an exceptional record in Sri Lanka and bagged 24 wickets when Pakistan last played them in 2015, helping his team to a 2-1 series win.
The veteran of 46 Tests shrugged off any chances of him being under pressure having being called after a considerable time outside the squad.
“There’s never pressure about making a comeback,” said Yasir. “I’m looking forward to break my own records.”
Yasir was named as a reserve in the Pakistan roster for Australia’s historic tour to the country earlier this year. He, however, was not rushed into the side due to a thumb injury.
The wrist-spinner, though, captained Balochistan to victory in the Pakistan Cup — the country’s premier domestic 50-over competition — which was held parallel to the Australia Tests.
He finished as the tournament’s second highest wicket-taker with 24 scalps before undergoing a month-long conditioning camp at the National High Performance Centre ahead of joining the Pakistan squad.
“I attended the month-long camp at the NHPC earlier and worked on my bowling with Mushi Bhai (Mushtaq Ahmed),” said Yasir.
“I’ve tried to prepare myself for the Sri Lankan conditions.
“We’ll also have a tour match in Sri Lanka. I’m well prepared and I’ve already played a series over there, so I’ll be confident.”
Pakistan will start their tour of Sri Lanka with a three-day warm-up match from July 11 before taking on the home side in the first Test on July 16 in Galle.
The second will start on July 24 in Colombo.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022