By dismissing William Somerville roughly half an hour into the morning, he picked up his 200th Test wicket in just his 33rd Test. That breaks the record for the fastest to 200 Test wickets, so long held by another legspinner, Clarrie Grimmett who reached the mark in his 36th Test.
The wicket came in trademark Yasir style, the key to it the pace at which it was bowled, breaking a little but hurrying onto Somerville’s pads. The batsmen had a discussion, but ultimately decided not to take a review.
By then Yasir had already been engulfed by his team-mates, performing the sajda in the process of acknowledging the landmark. As has been the case with so many of Pakistan’s greatest moments in the UAE, barely a handful of people were present at the ground to witness it.
“When I started I never dreamed that I would get this record,” Yasir later said. “I was just playing cricket at the time and I didn’t even think I could play for Pakistan.
“I thank Allah for this success. It was my dream to take 200 wickets and it came true today. I would like to dedicate the world record to my mother.”
Given his form in this series it was inevitable Yasir would break the record at some point during the Test. And on the first day it looked as if he would have it wrapped by the afternoon. He took three quick wickets in the hour before lunch as New Zealand slipped from 70 for 1 to 72 for 4. But he was to pick up no more in that innings, Bilal Asif instead ending up with a five-for.
Already his 27th wicket of the series, with more batsmen to come, he could also break another Pakistan record, for most wickets in a three-Test series. That has been held by another legspinner, Abdul Qadir who took 30 wickets against England in 1987-88.
This series has been an especially rich one for Yasir, and a welcome return to the wickets after an unusually quiet start to the season. Returning from a hip injury that forced him to miss the tour of Ireland and England earlier this year, Yasir looked understandably rusty against Australia last month. A relatively small haul of eight wickets in two Tests included the first time had gone wicketless in an innings in the UAE.
But he has looked like the old Yasir again at times in this series and indeed in the second Test in Dubai, bowled as good a spell as he has ever bowled. He ended with 14 wickets in the Test, only the second Pakistani to take as many, after Imran Khan.
Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Recent Match Report – Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi, Pakistan Super League, 9th Match
Peshawar Zalmi 153 for 8 (Imam 56, Dawson 43, Raza 2-23, Shinwari 2-36) beat Karachi Kings 109 or 9 (Rizwan 32, Hasan Ali 4-15) by 44 runs
How the game unfolded
Darren Sammy outperformed and outstrategized his opposite number Imad Wasim in key moments on Thursday night in Sharjah to lead Peshawar Zalmi to a comfortable 44-run win over Karachi Kings.
Kings were under heavy pressure at 48 for 4 after being sent in, but Imam-Ul-Haq withstood a procession of wickets to top-score with 56 off 43. He was aided in part by Imad’s decision to not review a crucial lbw appeal midway through his innings. At the time, the pair had added just six. It allowed Imam and Liam Dawson to continue with what became a 76-run fifth-wicket partnership before Sammy ended the innings with a tremendous flourish, scoring an unbeaten 24 off 10 balls.
Hasan Ali sparked Zalmi in the field by replicating his figures from their previous win over Lahore Qalandars. He finished with 4 for 15, including three in an over at the death. But his finest moment was arguably the runout off his own bowling to end Babar Azam’s innings on 1.
Kings were 53 for 4 needing 101 off the last 10 overs then. When Sikandar Raza was bowled by Umair Asif, there was too much to do for Imad and Mohammad Rizwan. Though Imad actually outscored Sammy with 26, it came off a painstaking 27 balls as he and Rizwan went through a 28-ball stretch from the end of the 12th until two balls left in the 17th without a boundary, symbolizing the Kings disciplined bowling on the night.
Raza had produced a double-wicket maiden in the 8th and had Imam trapped plumb on 33 with one that straightened from around the wicket in the 10th at 54 for 4, but Imad was unconvinced by Raza’s mild plead for a review. It proved costly.
With Zalmi desperate for a late burst following the end of the Imam-Dawson stand, Sammy responded by bashing 16 off the last five balls sandwiched around the runout of Hasan Ali to get his side past 150.
Hasan struck on the first ball of the chase with a ball seaming in to trap Liam Livingstone. He hen ended the third over with an athletic charge to short midwicket in his follow-through after another lbw shout had been turned down off Babar. However, while Babar was preoccupied waiting for the umpire’s decision, Hasan swooped in to field, then fired a direct hit from 10 yards.
Star of the day
Hasan was irrepressible with the ball and in the field. His opening spell claimed the two openers. The match was over for all intents and purposes when he took the ball for his last over in the 19th – Kings needed 51 off 12 balls – but the three wickets off five balls to end his night, two caught at deep square leg and the other at mid-off, were a just reward for the more impactful work he did earlier.
The big miss
The third umpire pressed the wrong button on a reviewed catch when Wahab Riaz flicked Mohammad Amir to Sikandar Raza on the leg side boundary late in the Zalmi innings. Raza claimed it cleanly but the scoreboard showed “Not Out” initially as Wahab walked off. It quickly reverted to “Pending Decision” before spinning out a red “Out” chyron as Wahab chuckled walking past the ropes.
Where the teams stand
Zalmi broke a five-way deadlock to take sole possession of second place at four points with the win, two behind Quetta Gladiators. Kings remain in the logjam with three others on two points in third place, though officially they are fifth on the net run rate tiebreaker.
Ricky Skerritt announces challenge to Cameron CWI presidency
Former West Indies team manager Ricky Skerritt has announced his intention to challenge Dave Cameron for the position of CWI president.
Skerritt, who is currently president of the St Vincent & The Grenadines Cricket Association, has previously been a cabinet minister and senator in the national assembly of St Kitts and Nevis and has also served as minister of tourism. He currently sits on the CWI board and has an MSc from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
He will run for election alongside Dr Kishore Shallow, an entrepreneur and director of CWI, who is running for the role of vice-president. Both candidates’ nominations were supported by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board and Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board. It would appear to represent a significant threat to Cameron’s future.
While the pair have produced a 10-point plan that includes cricket-specific issues such as modernising coach education, a new approach to selection, greater emphasis at Under-19 and Under-23 levels and increased funding for the sport at grassroots level, it is clear that a distrust of Cameron lies at the heart of their challenge.
In particular, the pair allege that Cameron plans to install himself as “a full-time executive” president, which demonstrates his “personal thinking” is “diametrically opposed to the values of West Indies cricket”.
“After six years as president, Dave Cameron’s intention to implement sweeping changes to the democratic process of decision-making within West Indies cricket is troubling,” Skerritt said in a statement. “His desire to lead CWI as a full-time executive, is not reflective of the West Indies cricket ethos.
“By advancing his plans for an autocratic leadership structure, which marginalises the role of commercially recruited executives, the incumbent has placed his personal thinking diametrically opposed to the values of West Indies cricket.”
Skerritt and Shallow have confirmed that they will also propose a six-year term limit on the presidency. “I am convinced that a presidential term limit will remove much of the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the cricket politics and excesses that too often surround the office of president,” Shallow said.
Cameron was approached for comment by ESPNcricinfo but declined to comment. The CWI elections take place in Jamaica on March 24. A total of 12 votes, two each for six member territories, are at stake.
India players unlikely to feature in The Hundred, admits Tom Harrison
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has admitted he can provide no guarantees that players from India or West Indies will be available to appear in The Hundred.
Despite claiming “overwhelming support” for the new competition, Harrison also said that scheduling it at the same time as the ECB’s domestic 50-over tournament would not provide players with the same opportunity to prepare for ODI cricket as currently exists.
While there have been more India players involved in English domestic cricket in recent times – Virat Kohli only missed out on a spell with Surrey last year due to injury – it has usually been with a view to gaining experience of conditions. With the BCCI keen to protect the value of the IPL as the premier short-form league and, perhaps, reluctant to support a new format of the game that could, potentially, weaken the T20 brand, it seems unlikely players will be released to take part in The Hundred.
The BCCI also knows that, if it agreed to allow Indian players to take part in one such league, there will be requests from many other nations for involvement in their own tournaments.
“I can’t commit to the involvement of India players,” Harrison said. “It’s a political conversation as much as anything.
“It’s a difficult conversation. It’s not just the ECB and The Hundred that will be keen to get Indian players involved. Clearly that’s a wider discussion.”
The Hundred also looks likely to clash, at least in part, with the CPL and several international fixtures. Indeed, a glance at the Future Tours Programme suggests that every international side has commitments during July and August 2020, when The Hundred is to be launched. West Indies, for example, host New Zealand for ODI and T20 series in July and T20s against South Africa a few weeks later. With a T20 World Cup to follow later in the year, it seems unlikely the best players would want to skip such games.
As a result, there seems every chance The Hundred may feature retired or dropped international players, or some on very short stints.
“The Hundred won’t necessarily clash with the CPL,” Harrison said. “We have ongoing discussions with the CPL and will work together on that. But we do have to make sure the Blast fits in the right way leading into The Hundred and that our Test summer is scheduled correctly.
“I think players will want to play in The Hundred. We’ll demonstrate an ambition behind this that is very pure and can enhance players’ skills under pressure. Hundred-ball cricket will deliver more of those key moments when players have to deliver under serious pressure. We’ll make it attractive to players to come and play.”
The ECB does, at least, now expect some limited involvement in The Hundred from the top England players. But that involvement is likely to be limited to one or two games at the start of the tournament and, perhaps, an appearance in the final.
Harrison also admitted for the first time that the best white-ball players in England would probably no longer appear in 50-over cricket at domestic level, but insisted that “it won’t impact our success at 50-over level at an international level”.
With The Hundred scheduled to be played at the same time as the 50-over competition, the ECB knows that the best 100 or so white-ball players will not be available for the latter. Instead the competition will feature younger players and, with the major grounds in use by The Hundred, be largely played at outgrounds. As a consequence, the standard of the competition is highly likely to decline. The gap between domestic and international 50-over cricket, meanwhile, is likely to grow.
“It is definitely a challenge,” Harrison said. “From 2020 onwards, the 50-over tournament will be played during The Hundred window.
“Counties will want the bulk of the T20 Blast to be played in the heart of summer. The new tournament has to feature in that space, and we have Test cricket, too. We cannot achieve everything and there’s always going to have to be compromise.
“I’m not suggesting it will give players exactly the same opportunity to play as much 50-over cricket – particular for the top-tier players – but I’m confident it won’t impact our success at 50-over level at an international level.”
Meanwhile Harrison said he would be interested to hear the views of Chris Gayle over ways the ECB could make The Hundred a success. Earlier this week, Gayle had suggested that if he was not invited to take part “it won’t be a tournament”.
“We’d love to have Chris involved,” Harrison said. “I’m keen to have a conversation and see what he thinks and to hear his views.
“He’s played in all the major tournaments around the world. His view is very much worth listening to see how we can make this even more exciting.”
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