Key Pakistan player's poor form a major concern despite South Africa series win

Jordan Carlisle April 8, 2021
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Shadab Khan’s poor form should be a major concern for the Pakistan selectors, despite the Green Shirts’ impressive ODI series win in South Africa.

Pakistan have a talented group of white-ball players and although they were aided by the departure of multiple Proteas stars for the IPL, their 2-1 series win on foreign soil still constitutes an impressive achievement.

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Several key men performed well, with Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam shining with the bat, while Haris Rauf and Mohammad Nawaz led the way with the ball.

However, the poor form of Pakistan’s white-ball vice-captain has to be a concern going forward.

Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan in poor form

Shadab burst onto the international scene as a potent young leg-spinner who also had some promise as a lower-order batsman.

His batting has improved since then, but his bowling stats are on a concerning downward trend.

The leggy averaged in the mid-20s in ODIs in 2017 and 2018 before a big jump to 41.12 in 2019 [HowSTAT].

After not featuring in 2020, the 22-year-old played the first two matches of the South Africa series, before being ruled out of the final ODI and the upcoming T20Is with a toe injury.

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But, from his 17 overs, he failed to pick up a wicket, ensuring he doesn’t even have an average for 2021.

In T20Is, his recent numbers don’t make for great reading, either.

After an outstanding start to his career during which he averaged under 20 for two years, Shadab has only taken 11 wickets from his last 55 overs in the shortest format. [HowSTAT].

In fact, he hasn’t dismissed an opposition batsman in any of his last six outings for Pakistan in white-ball cricket.

His toe injury is likely to ensure he has a short period away from the game to refresh and to think about potential tweaks to his action and plans.

Yet, with the T20 World Cup in India now just a matter of months away, he will need to start producing again soon or the selectors may be forced to act.

Jordan has been working for GRV Media since 2018, after completing a Media and Journalism postgraduate degree at the University of Glasgow. Brought up in Belfast, he has a passion for writing and has followed British and European football avidly all his life.