Yasir Shah has just recovered from a hip injury and is returning to fitness after the series against Australia.
Here in Dubai, with Pakistan needing to raise its multi-level game to level the series, he quickly understood the need to play a key role in giving his team a big advantage. By the end of the third day, he had just completed his third bid of ten posts in tests.
Surprisingly, he barely needed two sessions to get there. On either side of Monday's luncheon, his spells of incredible unproductiveness reaped New Zealand in just over an hour; 83 balls separating the fall from the wicket of Jeet Raval, the first of the innings, to Trent Boult, the last. Yasir finished with 8 to 41, not to mention a run-out, he played an important, if fortuitous, role.
"When I came [here] in the morning, I was thinking I had to get 10 wickets in the game, "Yasir said. I did not know I would end up taking 10 wickets in a day. Now, I'm going to try to help the team get the eight [second-innings] wickets as fast as we can. "
The other two came in the second round with New Zealand. Raval was cheated in flight to be baffled, while Kane Williamson, the only batter who faced Pakistan in the first round, received a pearl. A vicious sideways spinner flipped behind a thick outer edge.
"Of course I had a plan for every batter because every batter has his own weaknesses and strengths," he said. "Against Australia I was slowly picking up my pace because I was coming back from an injury.You need time to improve your pace after an injury.Today I played really well.I had worked hard in training.I think it's a their." the reasons. I played well on the last test too. "
He admitted being the primary coordinator of spin-friendly conditions added to the pressure on him. "Sometimes you feel the pressure here, because spinners get more wickets, so everyone expects you to get wickets, so you have to work harder."
He would not be drawn into discussions about whether he was among the best spin players in the world these days. He insisted he was only focusing on improving his game to help his team win the games. Even so, the statistics allow a very flattering reading.
Since Yasir made his debut, only two spinners, R Ashwin and Nathan Lyon, took more wickets than his 191. But both played significantly more games than his 32, with Ashwin claiming 229 wickets from 43 matches, and Lyon 206 from 47. He is an exalted company to keep, but Yasir is not allowing himself to get carried away .
"This happens in cricket [having very successful days]. It's part of the game. Sometimes you do not get wickets even when you play well. Sometimes, obviously, you do not play very well, but you learn from it. "
Pakistan still needs eight wickets before it can match the series against New Zealand, and if history is something to follow, they will lean heavily on Yasir to help take them. There is no time for the world leader in feet legs to put their feet up yet.