Shah keen to test his skills against India, Ashwin

Pakistani spinner Yasir Shah bowling to Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies in Dubai last week.
Pakistani spinner Yasir Shah bowling to Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies in Dubai last week.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who mentioned his rival in a tweet that said: "Good luck, may the force be with him." Right: Pakistani spinner Yasir Shah bowling to Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies in Dubai last week.
Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who mentioned his rival in a tweet that said: "Good luck, may the force be with him."PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DUBAI • Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah is keen to have a Test face-off with Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, in a battle of two bowlers who are rapidly accumulating scalps.

Shah became the joint-second fastest bowler to 100 wickets in Tests when he took 5-121 in his 17th match against the West Indies in the first day-night Test in Dubai last week.

England's George Lohmann holds the record of fastest to 100 Test wickets when he completed the tally in his 16th Test in 1896.

Australia's Charlie Turner and Clarrie Grimmett, and England's Sydney Barnes all reached the 100 mark in their 17th Test.

Ashwin, who became the second fastest to 200 wickets in the recently concluded home series against New Zealand in 37 Tests - one match more than Grimmett - had wished Shah "best of luck" in a tweet last week.

THE ULTIMATE CONTEST

Every Pakistani and Indian player has this wish to play against each other. I have not played a Test against India so it's my wish.

YASIR SHAH, who made his Test debut two years ago and has not played a five-day match against arch-rivals India.

"Good luck, may the force be with him. He is such a delight to watch," Ashwin had tweeted last week.

Shah said the message was an inspiration. "Yes, he had said good luck so I am thankful," he said.

"It's naturally motivating when a great bowler who is second fastest to 200 (wickets) tweets a good luck message and it's really a great motivation for me."

On Shah achieving the record, Ashwin tweeted on Sunday: "Just a little late I guess, but very well done @Shah64Y double it up now."

Shah, who took 76 wickets in his first 12 Tests, now wants to play against Ashwin.

"Every Pakistani and Indian player has this wish to play against each other," he said. "I have not played a Test against India so it's my wish."

Political tensions have not allowed Pakistan and India to play a Test series against each other since 2007.

Ashwin made his Test debut in 2011 while Shah only started playing Tests two years ago.

Both clashed in a World Cup match in Adelaide last year when Ashwin got one wicket and Shah went wicketless.

With India No. 1 in the Test rankings and Pakistan No. 2, there are suggestions of a one-off Test to determine the world champion. But that may not happen soon, given the renewed tension between the two nations.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Shah keen to test his skills against India, Ashwin'. Print Edition | Subscribe