Are Pakistan feeling the absence of Yasir Shah against Australia?

Yasir Shah set out to conquer the world but fell short and has been trying to find a way back ever since

Are Pakistan feeling the absence of Yasir Shah against Australia? PHOTO COURTESY: AFP

On top of decent pitches, the Pakistan-Australia Test series is lacking a spinner that has the guts to not only dismiss Steve Smith but also diss him during his long walk back.

After the first two Test matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi were drawn, Pakistan and Australia are currently going head-to-head in the final and deciding game at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

Both teams are gunning for a result as this series is also a part of ICC's World Test Champions and another draw will have a massive impact down the line.

Australia, already sitting comfortably at the top of the points table, ended day one of the deciding Test match with five wickets down. The Aussies had put 232 runs on the board while Pakistan pacers remained adamant to dismiss the team for less than 300 on day two.

However, Pakistan pacers were unable to take a wicket till Lunch as Australia crossed the 300-run mark without losing a wicket; the inability to provide a breakthrough forced Mickey Arthur to publicly question the absence of spin magician Yasir Shah.

Shah quickly established himself as an x-factor in Test cricket for Pakistan and yielded incredible results. However, his absence from the Test squad has raised a number of questions.

Before the Test series against Australia kicked off, Pakistan's all-format captain Babar Azam claimed that Shah still needs to regain match fitness and termed it as a "deciding factor" regarding selection.

Former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur also inquired about Yasir's absence as he wrote on Twitter: "Can anyone tell me where Yasir Shah is? If fit, surely he should be playing?"

Can anyone tell me where Yasir Shah is,if FIT surely he should be playing? #PAKvsAUS @Shah64Y

— Mickey Arthur (@Mickeyarthurcr1) March 22, 2022

Although publicly demanding another spinner to be selected ahead of Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan is rather insulting, especially since both have performed rather decently thus far.

However, despite the insult, everyone is aware of the quality Yasir Shah brings with him. Being a leg-spinner, Yasir provides the wicket-taking option which has always proven beneficial on rather slow tracks and would have been equally useful on surfaces like Lahore.

Yasir's absence, however, is not without a reason either. The leggie's form started deteriorating following the 2018-19 trip to South Africa where he picked up only one wicket in three Test matches. His impactless run continued which saw him miss out eight out of 20 Test matches Pakistan have played since the beginning of 2019.

With deteriorating form, Yasir's numbers have taken a hit in recent times; the leggie averages 89.50 in Australia, 123 in South Africa, and 65 in New Zealand. His average in Asia has also seen a significant rise in the last three years as it has gone from 25.39 to 36.50.