The world of Test cricket has seen the rise of a fast bowling sensation in recent months. Mohammad Abbas, a product of Sialkot, has become a regular of Pakistan’s Test bowling line-up, which was once dominated by some of the best bowlers in the game’s history.
Sialkot, a district which is home to over 650,000 people, and one of the largest cities of Pakistan, has been home to only eight Test cricketers. Only one fast bowler is a part of those Test cricketers – Mohammad Abbas.
Abbas’s village Jatheke, which is very close to the Lahore-Sialkot Highway, is notable for being home of the mother of Mohammad Iqbal. Mohammad Iqbal was a philosophical thinker who dreamt up the idea of creating Pakistan in 1930.
Just like many cricketers who have become stars in Pakistan, Mohammad Abbas too did face a lot of difficulties in his early years. He combated those to shine out and become the star he is slowly becoming today.
Here are 5 interesting facts about the fast bowler that you probably didn’t know.
#5 A humble beginning
Mohammad Abbas belonged to a relatively poorer household in the city of Sialkot, Punjab. Before he made his first-class debut, he tried earning an honest livelihood through a few different channels.
One of his first jobs involved in him working as a welder in a leather factory. Even though the job might not sound very glamorous, it did help him earn to help run his household.
Later on, he started working as a helper in a law firm in Sialkot. This was just the beginning for the man who would one day lead the Pakistani bowling attack in Test cricket against the best teams in the world.
Abbas has become a star in the world of Test cricket, and there is little doubt that soon he will get a lucrative contract for the PSL 4, scheduled to be held in 2019, and also from other leagues around the world.
#4 The coin-toss of fate
While Abbas was working as an office boy in court, registering documents for cases related to property, he got selected for the district under-19 cricket.
He was faced with the task of choosing between his job and cricket, which made it very difficult for him. His friend, who was a lawyer too, gave him the advice of doing both things together.
Later, he came to play in an under-19 tournament. The team had a choice to make between picking Abbas, and the sectary’s son. Luckily, the decision was made through a coin-toss which came down up in Abbas’ favour.
Abbas went on to take five wickets in the match and that led to his rise in cricket.
Since then, Abbas has been a part of 9 completed Test matches. Along with that, he has appeared in 84 First-class matches, 47 List A games, and 21 domestic T20s.
He is yet to make his ODI and T20I debut.
#3 An average to remember
Currently, Abbas finds his name among the elites of the game at such an early stage in his career.
Mohammad Abbas has played 10 Test matches to date and has a bowling average of 15.94 up till the end of the first innings of Pakistan’s second Test match against Australia in Abu Dhabi.
This is by far the best bowling average of any bowler actively playing today. It is also the fourth best bowling average of all time.
In 18 innings, Abbas has amassed 54 wickets which include three 5-wicket hauls.
Comparing this to his First-class average, he has played 84 First-class games in which he has taken 384 wickets. This has been achieved at an average of just 20.10 and an economy rate of 2.75. He has also taken 30 five-wicket hauls and 8 ten-wicket hauls.
#2 Better late than never
Mohammad Abbas was handed a debut in Tests in the match against West Indies in April 2017. He took his first international wicket with just his second delivery and was soon noticed by the world.
While Abbas made his debut in April 2017, there were chances of him doing so even sooner.
The former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq noticed Abbas early on and wanted the man to be a part of Pakistan’s squad for their England tour in 2016. Misbah’s pleas were ignored by the selectors.
After Pakistan suffered in their tour Down Under in 2016-2017, the selectors decided it was time to give Abbas a chance at international cricket against the West Indies in 2017.
Leicestershire CCC announced in 2018 that they were signing the Pakistan international seamer Muhammad Abbas for the 2018 season. This marked his first international assignment outside the PCB.
Even though he has only played 10 Test matches thus far, Mohammad Abbas has already managed to claim some impressive records in Test cricket.
Abbas took his maiden five-wicket haul, against West Indies, in his third Test match during his debut series against them.
He later toured with the Pakistani side to England, where he was extremely successful and Abbas took 8 wickets at Lord’s at just 8 runs apiece to help Pakistan win the Test.
In October 2018, he became the joint-quickest fast bowler to claim 50 wickets in Test matches for Pakistan. He achieved the feat in just his tenth match. He is also the all-time joint fifth quickest player to achieve a milestone of 50 wickets in Tests.
Abbas averages just 15.94 in Tests, which is the best bowling average for any current bowler in Test cricket.
This is surely a sign for great things to come for the speedster in the future.