Mohammad Abbas: Pakistan’s new chief destroyer?

28-year-old does not boast an aura about him which is full of in-your-face attitude

Mohammad Abbas: Pakistan’s new chief destroyer? PHOTO: AFP

“Yasir will be the number one threat,” said Australia pacer Peter Siddle before the two-Test series began in the UAE, but little did he or the Australians knew about Mohammad Abbas.

The Sialkot-born isn’t your everyday aggressive fast-bowler, one who fires vicious pace or adorns a moustache in order to find inspiration or promises to crush opponents’ toes. So why should they prepare for him?

He is not even considered a pure fast-bowler as he is described as a right-arm medium-fast bowler, operating between 80-85mph, very often crossing the latter mark. Nothing special here too!

He doesn’t even have an intimidating physique or an unusual height advantage, neither a pretentious hair style, nor a gold chain hanging out of his collar, not even a bandana — too modest to be a fast-bowler.

Even his celebration is not pompous, a few quick steps followed by a leap and a fist pump are all there is, we’ve seen that one very often, nothing ‘explosive’ about it.

The 28-year-old also does not boast an aura about him which is full of in-your-face attitude, another reason Australia might have forgotten to take him into account. A rare mistake committed by the Aussies, which morphed into a blunder.

On a dry Dubai pitch, he hurt them with a 4-29 in the first innings. Bilal Asif was hailed as the hero courtesy his six-for, but Abbas didn’t mind a spinner outshining him. He came back in the second innings, got another 3-56, but this time Yasir’s four-for put a lid on the pacer’s endeavours.

That’s the rule in the UAE: pacers are just there to bowl when spinners are not, they are not meant to take wickets, they are only meant to pressurise the batsmen, restrict the opposition from scoring, bowl a bouncer here and there to shatter batsmen’s confidence, bowl bodyline if need be. All in all, lay the ground for spinners to build on.

But Abbas didn’t adhere to the normal. He is different, yet so predictable. He won’t rattle you with pace but he will surely tease and test you with his pin-point line and length. Even if the pitch offers just a little bit, he is the bowler who will wring everything out of it to his advantage.

He doesn’t concede to dry, helpless bowling conditions; he exploits them, surgically, clinically, in ways only he knows, with methods only he understands, with the will only he seems to have at the moment.

As day one ended in the second Test in Abu Dhabi, Abbas had once again given Pakistan hope with two quick wickets, but the talk of the town were opener Fakhar Zaman and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. And then as day two started he struck again, two more scalps to his name as the Australian lower middle-order got exposed, and sooner than later spinners came in to fill their wicket coffers.

It seems so and some may argue too that he is still a contributor for Pakistan in Tests and not a leader, he is not the best but better than many right now, but there is no denying that he is giving spinners a run for their money on favourably turning UAE tracks, developing into the chief destroyer for Sarfraz, a role previously assigned to slower bowlers.