Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Shadab Khan, the Pakistan limited overs vice-captain, admitted he believed he was the number one bowler in the world when he worked with legendary spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.
The 24-year-old recalled how he was “out of form in 2021” and went to work on his bowling with Mushtaq at the National High Performance Centre.
During his time there, he experienced a surge in confidence and a shift in mentality that made him think he was right up there with the very best bowlers in the game.
“I was out of form in 2021. I decided against going to CPL (Caribbean Premier League) that year. I headed to the National High Performance Centre to work with him for a week,” Shadab told Cricbuzz. “Such was the mental impact of working with him that I started believing I am the number 1 bowler around.
“A week before that I was totally out of sorts and short on confidence. And then when he came on as a head coach it helped our spinners immensely. Me and [Mohammad] Nawaz have gained a lot from him tactically and technically.”
Shadab wasn’t picked for Pakistan’s two-Test series against Sri Lanka in July 2023, but did take four wickets in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan at an average of 23.75.
Most recently, he featured in the Asia Cup and ended up with six wickets in five matches at an average of 40.83.
Pakistan began their campaign with a comprehensive 238-run win over Nepal before sharing one point apiece with India as their match was washed out.
Despite this, the men in green progressed to the Super Four stage and took down Bangladesh by seven wickets.
However, things went downhill from there as India thumped Pakistan by 228 runs.
They still had a chance to make it to the Asia Cup final, but lost to Sri Lanka by two wickets via the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS) method.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), SFakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zaman Khan.
Travelling reserve: Tayyab Tahir