Mohammad Abbas seems to be very consistent with the ball in his hand, but still, he has a long way to go and he has the ability to excel….
Pakistan have a reputation for producing menacing fast bowlers. It is a land where skilful seamers are unearthed as frequently as day and night. Not just seamers, they have also given world cricket some mind-boggling and impactful spinners. The likes of Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Saeed Ajmal rendered bowling a joy to behold.
In the one-off Test against Ireland, which Pakistan won quite convincingly Mohammad Abbas made the headlines for his wily bowling and bagged nine wickets in the match. He looked in good rhythm and bowled with some accuracy to have a fifer to his name in the second innings. Ireland did put up a fight in the second innings, but Pakistani batsmen ensured a victory was snatched.
It is not easy to stand out as a bowler when you have the likes of Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali and Shadab Khan as your bowling partners. But Abbas did well to be the pick of the bowlers in both the innings and have wickets to his name. He has good control and an easy action to start with.
Abbas’ journey to this Pakistani side has been an inspiring one. From working in a leather factory and making his livelihood through wielding work, Abbas has drilled extremely hard to find a spot in the Pakistani Test line-up. Like every other talent, Abbas too made it to the national side on the back of some solid bowling performances in the domestic circuit.
He had the highest wickets in 2015-16 First-Class domestic season with 61 wickets in his kitty and replicated his magical performance in 2016-17 as well, where he scalped 71 wickets at a staggering average of 12.74. His hard work was finally rewarded when he earned a Test cap on the tour of West Indies in 2017. He scalped a wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite on the very second delivery of his Test career at Sabina Park.
Coming back to the Test against Ireland, not many gave Ireland a chance against the dominant attack of Pakistan. But they did well to put up a fight. Pakistan declared at 310/9 in the first innings after which, their bowlers wreaked havoc with the ball. Mohammad Abbas and Amir ran through the top-order, especially the former, who looked unstoppable with the ball. He was getting the ball to move and stuck to the basic, keeping the ball full. That was some serious astuteness from Abbas as he didn’t experiment a lot and kept things pretty simple.
Ireland were derailed for a paltry total of 130 as their batsmen didn’t have enough answers to Pakistani bowlers’ belligerence. Pakistan imposed the follow-on and this time Ireland ensured they had big runs on the board. Kevin O’Brien led the Irish fightback by scoring a scintillating ton and help his side post a competitive total.
Abbas was once again outstanding with the ball in the second innings and showed what he is made of. He got rid of the Irish tail with some impactful bowling and gave a testament to his effectiveness against the tail-enders as well. This was also his second Test fifer, which came at a crucial time as Pakistan then went on to win the Test by five wickets.
Abbas boasts of a magnificent First-Class record as well. In 72 games, he has 320 wickets at a healthy average of just over 20. He has 25 fifers, which speaks about his effectiveness with the ball. At the age of 28, Abbas also has the experience and nerves to deliver under pressure. In a handful of games, Abbas has given a good impression and looks promising.
Abbas is yet to be tested against the big guns, but has the abilities to excel. It will be interesting to see how well he adjusts and gels in different conditions in the upcoming future. If he manages to remain fit and bowl with a similar rhythm, then one wouldn’t be wrong in saying that he has a long way to go. For any fast bowler at this level, fitness plays a key role. One may have the talent, but being injury-prone may cost him dearly. Abbas has the set of skills, and the series against England would be a litmus test for him.