Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah has surpassed Indian spin star Ravichandran Ashwin to be the fastest Asian to take 100 wickets in Test matches. Yasir Shah took 5-121 runs against West Indies to reach the landmark in his 17th appearance. The Pakistani star also became the joint-second fastest bowler to have taken 100 Test wickets in as many matches. With this performance, Yasir Shah has come in the list of leading spinners in the world. The pace with which he is taking wickets in Tests, he is being considered potential rival to Indian stalwart R Ashwin, who has been in the thick of things as far as Indian Test wins are concerned. Ashwin has taken tons of wickets in the last couple of years, becoming the second fastest bowler in the world to have taken 200 wickets.

Yasir Shah seems to have smelled the rivalry that started without any announcement with his instant success. Ravichandran Ashwin congratulated Yasir Shah for the feat. Shah graciously accepted the wishes. He, later, said he would like a match up with R Ashwin. He said it was every Pakistan and Indian player’s dream to play with each other and he also had that dream.

Though, the rivalry seemed to be only on field. R Ashwin had tweeted before Shah’s game against West Indies. He had wished him well and had said Shah was a delight to watch. While congratulating also, Ashwin wished him. Yasir Shah said it was inspiring for him that the bowler who was the second fastest to take 200 wickets was saying kind words. He said he it was a great motivation. But, both the bowlers are professional cricketers and this camaraderie can turn into a healthy competition between the two stars.

The current equation between R Ashwin and Yasir Shah is reminiscent of the most famous spin rivalries of the recent time. Australian legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne and Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan. At one point,  both the spinners were taking tons of wickets and it was not clear who would end up becoming the leading wicket takers in Test matches. Muralitharan broke Courtney Walsh’s record of 519 Test wickets. Then, he got injured. In the meantime, Shane Warne broke his record and became the leading wicket-taker of the world. Muralitharan prevailed after Warne retired in 2007. He took a whopping 800 wickets in Test matches and 534 in ODIs, both world records. Warne took 708 wickets in Test matches and 294 in ODIs.

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A similar rivalry is unfolding between Yasir Shah and R Ashwin. Shah is a leg spinner and Ashwin is an off-spinner. Ashwin has 220 Test wickets in 39 Test matches. Yasir Shah has 100 wickets in 17 Test matches. It will be interesting to see how the two stars proceed in their respective careers and what will happen when they finally clash?

                                                           YouTube/ Amee Upp