Plucked out of obscurity by Lahore Qalandar's director of cricket Aaqib Javed, the twenty-year-old fast-bowler Yasir Jan shocked the world of cricket when a video of him bowling equally fast with either hands hit the internet.
In an interview with PakPassion.net, Yasir spoke in detail about his ability to bowl at extremely fast speeds with either arm, his experience of using his unique skills in live match situations and his hopes and aspirations of progressing to the senior team after landing a ten-year contract with Lahore Qalandars.
By Saj Sadiq (22nd September, 2016)
PakPassion.net : Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
Yasir Jan : I am twenty-years-old and the youngest of seven siblings. My family is in the vegetable vending business and it would be fair to say that we have faced a few financial hardships in the past which has made it difficult for me to pursue my love for cricket. However, I am fortunate that my elder brother has really helped and encouraged me to fulfil my desire to play cricket by covering for me and giving me some free time on the side as I was expected to help out in the family business.
PakPassion.net : When did you discover you could bowl with both arms?
Yasir Jan : Like any youngster in Pakistan, I was always interested in playing cricket but this idea of bowling with either arm was something that I started for fun at the age of eight and have never looked back since. This then became an obsession for me and I have continued to develop this style without any help from anyone.
PakPassion.net : But surely coaches must have tried to stop you from bowling like this?
Yasir Jan : Yes, they did. My coaches were dead against it as they were worried that I might do physical damage to myself and also end up as not being good as either a left or right hand bowler, but you know when you have an obsession about something like this, nothing will stop you and this is what happened with me.
PakPassion.net : Have you bowled using both left and right arms during an over in proper cricket games?
Yasir Jan : I have bowled in this way many times during club game but the main one where I did this was when I delivered five overs with my left-arm and the rest with the right-arm during a regional Under 19 game where I was representing Rawalpindi against Lahore. That was a quite an enjoyable experience.
PakPassion.net : What did the batsmen think about your switching arms during the over in the Under 19 game?
Yasir Jan : They were astonished and could not believe it. They complained to the umpire saying that they weren’t happy with the situation and I was doing something wrong but the umpire told them that it was legal as I had informed him before bowling like that. The batsman was completely confused when the ball was delivered from the left hand after I had started the over bowling with the right hand. What also didn’t help his case was that the bowl was swinging as well and with the change of arm, he really didn’t know how to play me.
PakPassion.net : Do you think that the rules should be changed so that the bowlers can swap arms without telling the batsmen, like batsmen do in switch hits?
Yasir Jan : Absolutely; why not? Bowlers like me have been given a talent and I would like to use that to the advantage of my team but the laws stop me from doing that. I have no problems with others learning to bowl like that but just like Kevin Pietersen can switch his hands for a switch hit, I as a bowler should also be allowed to change the bowling hand without having to announce it first as it takes away the surprise. I would really hope that the ICC will make that change to the laws in the near future.
PakPassion.net : What sort of bowling speed are you bowling at?
Yasir Jan : I have been told by Lahore Qalandars staff that I am bowling at a decent pace where my speed with the right-arm measured near the 140 KpH mark whilst with the left-arm, I am bowling around 135 KpH. This makes me very happy as I have worked very hard to get to this stage.
PakPassion.net : Given your unique talent, which bowlers do you model your action on?
Yasir Jan : I am lucky that I can choose a few good bowling actions to copy as I can bowl with either left or right-hand. From the right-armers, I would choose Brett Lee and Dale Steyn as my favourites but for left-handers, I cannot think of a better bowler to imitate than the Great Wasim Akram. Having said that, I also like Mohammad Amir’s and Wahab Riaz’s actions. I love their bowling actions but Wasim Bhai is a notch above all others.
PakPassion.net : The video of you bowling at the Lahore Qalandar trials seems to have gone viral on the internet. Does that fill you with pride?
Yasir Jan : To be honest, I haven’t seen that video but from what I have heard from my friends and family, it seems to be a hit on the internet which is quite amazing for me. I was surprised but very proud when I heard this and I have been getting calls from acquaintances about this video all day and night. Frankly speaking it is a little irritating at times as I am forever on the phone and am not able to devote time to my family. Hopefully, the interest will die down in the next few days.
PakPassion.net : What did Aaqib Javed and other coaches say to you regarding your bowling?
Yasir Jan : Aaqib Bhai has been brilliant in his advice to me. Apart from some technical pointers, his main message to me is to prepare myself for hard work in the future if I wish to achieve my goals of becoming a successful cricketer and serving Pakistan. I have been training since the regional Under 16 days but I will continue to learn more under the supervision of Aaqib Javed who is a very experienced bowling coach.
PakPassion.net : A ten-year contract with Lahore Qalandars must be a great achievement for you. How are you feeling about this?
Yasir Jan : I am really pleased on being awarded this contract. It shows that Lahore Qalandars have seen something in me and will support me further. I have gone through some financial hardships in my life and to be recognized for my talent is really something special and I am grateful to Aaqib Javed and Lahore Qalandars. I can tell you that I was very sceptical about attending these trials but it was my elder brother and friends who convinced me to come forward and try out and I have now been awarded with such a wonderful opportunity.
PakPassion.net : What about the future? Do you see yourself developing to become a Pakistan cricketer?
Yasir Jan : Aaqib Javed has given me the opportunity to train with the Lahore Qalandars squad and I hope to accompany them in the next edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in 2017. This will be a great chance for me to train and possibly play alongside some of the top names of the world. I wish to continue working hard with my coaches and hope I can get a chance to fulfil my dream of representing Pakistan in the future.