Records smashed

October 22, 2017

Records smashed

In 1970s and ‘80s, fast bowlers dominated international cricket. Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Colin Croft and Malcolm Marshall helped West Indies rule the cricket world. Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee of Australia, Richard Hadlee of New Zealand, Bob Willis of England and Pakistan’s Imran Khan were the biggest names of the cricket world.

During this period, only India and Pakistan produced quality spinners who won matches for their teams.

But since 1990s, spinners have been dominating the world of cricket. Some spinners will always be remembered for their extraordinary performances for a long period in international cricket.

Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Anil Kumble, Saqlain Mushtaq and Saeed Ajmal perfected the art of spin.

Currently, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin, Sri Lankan Rangana Herath and Pakistan’s Yasir Shah are the leading spinners in international circuit.

Earlier this month, Pakistan lost Test series to Sri Lanka by 0-2. During the series, a few players achieved their personal milestones. Pakistan’s most dependable batsman Azhar Ali completed his 5000 Test runs, leg-spinner Yasir Shah grabbed his 150th wicket, while Herath took his 400th Test wicket.

Yasir took 16 wickets, averaging 25.15. With a five-wicket haul in the first innings of the second Test, Yasir became the first spinner and overall fourth bowler ever to take five wickets in five successive Tests.

Yasir is also the quickest spinner in Test cricket history to have taken 150 wickets -- he did it in only his 27th Test. He surpassed former Australian spinner Clarrie Grimmett who had achieved the landmark in his 28th match.

Overall, he is the joint-second fastest bowler ever to take 150 wickets along with former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis, who also took 27 matches to get 150 wickets.

Yasir is also the fastest Asian and overall joint-second fastest bowler to reach 100 wickets. He did so in his 17th match. He was the fastest Pakistani bowler as well to reach 50 Test wickets. He did that in his 9th Test, beating Waqar, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammad Asif, who took 10 Tests each.

In July last year, after the match-winning performance against England at Lord’s where he took 10-141 to give Pakistan a 75-run victory, Yasir jumped to the first position in the ICC Test bowlers’ ranking. Warne was the last wrist spinner to reach the number-one position, in December 2005.

Currently, Yasir is Pakistan’s number one spinner, having replaced Ajmal who was suspended from bowling after his action was declared illegal in September 2014.

Yasir, now 31, made his Test debut against Australia in Dubai in 2014. He made everyone forget they were supposed to miss Ajmal, spinning his way to 12 wickets in his debut series at an average of just over 17, as Pakistan whitewashed Australia 2-0.

He has been a permanent member of Pakistan’s Test squad. So far, in 28 Test matches, he has taken 165 wickets, averaging 29.44. Twice has he claimed 10 or more wickets in a Test and 13 times five or more wickets in an innings.

In One-day Internationals, Yasir is not as successful as in Tests. In 17 ODI appearances, he has taken only 18 wickets with a high average of 42.55. In the two Twenty20 Internationals he has played, he failed to take any wicket.

Herath is widely considered one of the finest left-arm spinners in the history of cricket. In the Test series against Pakistan, Herath also took 16 wickets, averaging 17.31. In the first Test in Abu Dhabi, his match-winning performance of 11-136 gave his team an incredible win.

He has been highly successful against Pakistan, having taken 106 wickets in 21 matches with eight five- and two ten-wicket hauls. He’s the first bowler to take 100 wickets against Pakistan. Kapil Dev had had 99 Pakistan dismissals. He also took 22 wickets against Pakistan in 2014 -- a record for a two-match series.

About his incredible success against Pakistan, Herath said: "I have no idea, maybe I have played more against them, that’s why. I am so happy with the achievement."

Herath took his 400th Test wicket in his 84th Test. Only Muralitharan (72), Hadlee (80) and Dale Steyn (80) have done it in fewer matches. He’s the first left-arm spinner, 14th bowler overall and second for Sri Lanka to take 400 wickets.

He is the oldest bowler to complete 400 wickets as he did so when he was 39 years and 197 days old. Hadlee was the previous oldest -- he took his 400th aged 38 years and 214 days, in 1990.

Hearth’s performance has been improving with age. He played 29 Tests for his first 100 wickets, averaging 34.87, without any 10-wicket haul. The next 100 wickets he took in just 18 matches at an average of 24.17.

He has taken his last 100 wickets in only 15 matches at an average of 20.96. In this period, he took four times 10 or more wickets in a match and 10 times five-wicket hauls.

Records smashed