Pakistani bowlers with more than 50 Test wickets on a single ground

June 16, 2024

Pakistani bowlers with more than 50 Test wickets on a single ground

There are five instances of Pakistani bowlers having taken 50 or more Test wickets at a single ground. Abdul Qadir and Imran Khan have reached this milestone on two venues, while Yasir Shah has done so at a single playing arena.

The list is headed by Abdul Qadir who took 59 Test wickets at the National Stadium, Karachi in 13 Tests, at an average of 26.63 runs per wicket with a strike rate of a wicket every 60.14 deliveries. Qadir’s best performance at the NSK was against the visiting English team in 1987. In England’s first innings of 294, he took 5 wickets for 88 in 49.4 overs and then followed it up in their second knock with 5 for 98 in a marathon spell of 55 overs. His match figures were 104.4 overs, 31 maidens and 10 wickets for 186 runs. Qadir sent down 628 deliveries during the game which was a record at the time for the most balls bowled by a Pakistani bowler in a Test match.

Qadir took 3 other fifers at the NSK. In 1982 his spell of 5 for 76 in Australia’s second innings set up a convincing 9 wicket win for Pakistan. Two years later, in 1984, he had England on the ropes with figures of 5 for 74 in their first innings which paved the way for Pakistan’s eventual win. His best innings performance at the NSK came against Sri Lanka the following year, in 1985, when he snared 5 victims for just 44 runs in Sri Lanka’s first knock, to facilitate a comprehensive 10 wicket triumph for Pakistan.

Imran Khan is next on this short list. He captured 56 Test wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in 11 matches, at an average of 17.63 runs apiece, with a strike rate of 42.16 balls per wicket. Imran’s bowling average and strike rate at the Gaddafi Stadium are the best in this small group of five bowling performances.

Imran’s most outstanding bowling display at the Gaddafi Stadium came in 1982 against Sri Lanka. In a weather affected match whose start was delayed by overnight rain, Imran struck early taking two wickets in his third over. In a display of sustained hostile pace he took 8 wickets for 58 runs in 29.3 overs, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 240. Pakistan ran up a big total of 500 for 7 declared and then proceeded to dismiss Sri Lanka for just 158 in their second innings, with Imran again being the destroyer in chief with 6 wickets for 58 and match figures of 14 wickets for 116 runs. Pakistan won by an innings and 102 runs. Imran’s figures are the best ever in Test matches by any Pakistani bowler.

Pakistani bowlers with more than 50 Test wickets on a single ground

Imran also got a fifer at the Gaddafi Stadium against the West Indies in 1986 when his 5 for 59 in the only innings of the West Indies was not enough to save Pakistan from an innings defeat in a low scoring match.

Yasir Shah makes it to the list, having obtained 55 Test wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in just 7 Tests, at an average of 23.82 runs per wicket and a strike rate of a wicket per 49.46 balls.

Yasir Shah’s best performance at this stadium was versus New Zealand in 2018. The Kiwis were completely at sea against Yasir’s deceptive and tantalizing leg spin. In just 12.3 overs Yasir took 8 wickets for 41 runs as the New Zealand innings folded up for merely 90 runs. They put up stiffer resistance in their second knock, totaling 312, but still fell 16 runs short of making Pakistan bat again. Yasir was again the main wicket taker with 6 wickets, albeit at the expensive cost of 143 runs. Yasir’s match tally was 14 wickets for 164 runs. Ten of Yasir’s fourteen wickets were taken on the same day, the second such instance in Test cricket history. Yasir’s match tally is the best by a Pakistani spin bowler in Tests and the second best by any bowler for Pakistan in Test cricket.

Yasir also managed 3 further fifers at this stadium. In 2014 he took 5 for 79 against New Zealand in their second innings in a drawn Test. He returned figures of 5 for 121 against the West Indies in 2016 in their first knock in a Test that Pakistan won by 56 runs. The next year, in 2017, he had an expensive haul of 6 wickets for 184 runs in Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 482. Sadly, this effort was in vain as Pakistan lost the Test by 68 runs.

Imran Khan makes his second appearance in this list through the 51 Test wickets that he took at the National Stadium Karachi. He did this in 11 Tests at an average of 18.39 runs per wicket and a healthy strike rate of 45.27 balls per wicket.

Imran’s best display at the NSK was his magnificent performance against India in 1982 when he took 8 wickets for 60 runs in the second Indian innings and 11 wickets for merely 79 runs in the match altogether. Imran was simply unplayable in this Test and the highly regarded Indian batting line-up had no answer to his extreme speed and lethal swing. Bowling lengthy pacy spells on hard arid surfaces did, however, take its toll and it is rumored that this Test was the one in which he sustained the stress fracture of his shin bone that would rudely interrupt his bowling career at its peak and prime.

Pakistani bowlers with more than 50 Test wickets on a single ground

Imran always enjoyed a challenge and there was none better than taking on the West Indies in their prime. In the winter of 1986 he chose the NSK to put on another sterling bowling display against them. In a closely contested game, Imran took 6 wickets for 46 runs in the second West Indian innings. In his final spell in the innings he twice took two wickets off consecutive balls in a burst of 5 wickets for 10 runs in six overs.

Abdul Qadir also makes his second entry into this list of five by virtue of having taken 51 Test wickets in 12 Tests at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. His wickets cost him 26.53 runs each and were procured at a strike rate of 59.42 balls per wicket.

While playing against England at the Gaddafi Stadium in 1984, Qadir took 5 wickets for 84 runs in Englands first innings and followed it up with 5 for 110 in England’s second outing. His match figures of 10 wickets for 194 were, however, not sufficient to enable a Pakistan victory as this closely contested game petered out into a draw.

Qadir’s best display at the Gaddafi Stadium, though, was reserved for the English team’s next visit in 1987. England batted first after winning the toss but were bundled out for 175. Qadir was at his mesmerizing best, teasing and tormenting the English batsmen with his leg spin, googlies, flippers and top spinners, leaving the visitors totally bemused and bewildered. Qadir took 9 out of the 10 wickets to fall for just 56 runs. After Pakistan had replied with a solid 392, England again found Qadir totally indecipherable in their second knock as he added four further wickets for 45 runs to return match figures of 13 wickets for 101 runs. Pakistan comfortably won the match by an innings and 87 runs. Qadir’s first innings tally of 9 for 56 was the best in Test cricket by a Pakistani bowler and also the best by any bowler ever against England.

Yasir Shah almost got a second presence in this list by taking 46 Test wickets in 7 Tests at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. His wickets cost 23.54 runs each and were obtained at a strike rate of 51.76 balls per dismissal. At this stadium in 2016, Yasir returned Test match figures of 10 wickets for 210 runs to lead Pakistan to victory against the West Indies. Yasir also took fifers at this stadium in the next two succeeding years of 2017 and 2018 against Sri Lanka and New Zealand respectively. Sadly, these efforts were wasted as Pakistan lost both these Test matches.

There are four other instances of getting close to the 50 Test wickets ceiling, without touching it, where Pakistani bowlers have obtained more than 40 Test wickets on a single ground. Iqbal Qasim took 44 Test wickets at the NSK, Abdul Qadir took 42 at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, while the legendary Wasim Akram had 41 Test victims each, at both the Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad as well as the National Stadium Karachi.

Pace and leg spin have been the two traditional power bases of Pakistan’s bowling strength. It is, therefore, perhaps appropriate that this trend is also reflected in this small illustrious lineup from our cricketing history.

– Dr Salman Faridi is a senior surgeon, poet, sports aficionado and an avid reader with a private collection of over 7000 books.

Pakistani bowlers with more than 50 Test wickets on a single ground