Returning England all-rounder Ben Stokes has hailed Pakistan’s Yasir Shah as the best exponent of leg-spin since Australia great Shane Warne as preparations for the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford, which starts on Friday, intensify.
Yasir proved the scourge of England during their 75-run defeat to Pakistan at Lord’s in the first Test as the 30-year-old claimed match-figures of 10-141 to propel the tourists into a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Conditions in Manchester are set to be receptive to spin bowling, a weapon which Stokes, who has been recalled to squad following knee surgery in May, insists England need to counteract.
“Yasir Shah, I reckon, is the best leg-spinner since Shane Warne,” said Stokes. “They are a very good team but we go into the Test match knowing how he goes about bowling and we should be able to counteract that.
“The conditions are another thing we will have to try and adapt to and we’ll just see how it goes.”
The statistics back Stokes’s assertion. Yasir usurped England seamer James Anderson at the top of the Test bowling rankings following his heroics at Lord’s – the first leg-spinner to do so since Warne, who claimed a total of 708 Test scalps, in 2005.