A specialist leg break spin bowler, known for his leg spinners, flippers and googlies, Yasir Shah was born on 2 May 1986 in Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He is the second fastest wicket taker in the history of Test cricket to take 100 wickets. He made his Test match debut for Pakistan against Australia in the United Arab Emirates on 22 October 2014. During Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka, Yasir Shah became the fastest Pakistani bowler to take 50 test wickets.
Yasir Shah played his first international match, the third game of one-day international series on Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe, on 14 September 2011. In the match he took 2 for 51 runs (10 overs). The wickets were of Zimbabwean opener Vusi Sibanda and star wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu.
In June 2015 while on the tour against Sri Lanka, Yasir Shah became the first Pakistani bowler to take 50 test wickets in just nine matches. He became the first Pakistani bowler to take fastest 50 wickets, while 5th spinner of the world overall. The fastest 50 wicket record for Pakistan in test cricket was previously held by Waqar Younis, Mohammad Asif and Shabbir Ahmed who completed their 50 wickets in ten matches. However, record for quick 50 wickets in Test Cricket overall is held by Charles Turner of Australia who completed his 50 wickets in just six matches. Yasir Shah picked up 3 consecutive Five Wicket Hauls in three Tests against Sri Lanka further improving his Test Record.
At the end of his 13th test match, Yasir had 86 wickets to his name and after 15, the total was 90. Both these totals are world record for any bowler after their 13th and 15th test matches. In his 17th test match against West Indies at Dubai, Yasir Shah took his 100th test wicket and became the second fastest ever to achieve this milestone, with only George Lohmann bettering it. He is fastest Pakistani to get 50 and 100 wickets in test.
In January 2015, Yasir Shah was selected in Pakistan's squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and was considered as a long-term replacement for Pakistan's banned off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. He made his World Cup debut against arch-rivals India on 15 February 2015.
In July 2016, while on tour against England, Yasir Shah became the first leg spinner to take a 5-wicket haul in a Test match at Lord's since Mushtaq Ahmed in 1996. He also became the highest wicket-taking bowler in a single match from any Asian side at Lord's.
On 18 July, 2016, Yasir Shah became World No. 1 in ICC Test Bowler's list. He displaced England quick Jimmy Anderson from the No. 1 spot in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers. He is the first leg-spinner since Australian Shane Warne in 2005 to be ranked No. 1, and the first Pakistani bowler since Mushtaq Ahmed in December 1996. However, eight days later following his poor performance in the second Test, he dropped four places to number five.
Yasir Shah was banned for 3 months from playing any type of cricket after a sample taken from him on November 13, was found positive containing a banned substance, which is on WADA's prohibited list of diuretics and masking agents. ICC banned Yasir Shah for 3 months starting from 27 December 2015 to 27 March 2016.
He has played for numerous teams in the Pakistan first-class domestic cricket circle, including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cricket team, Abbottabad Rhinos, Pakistan Customs cricket team, and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. He has also played cricket for the Pakistan A cricket team.
Yasir Shah is the cousin of Pakistan fast bowler Junaid Khan as well as of Australian international cricketer Fawad Ahmed.