Taj Wali achieves rare four-in-four feat
Port Qasim Authority battle back for draw
Peshawar seamer Taj Wali became the first bowler for 20 years to take four wickets in four balls in Pakistan's domestic first-class competition. Wali blew through Port Qasim Authority's top order on the first day at the Arbab Niaz Stadium, although his feat could not prevent the match from ending in a draw. It was the fifth instance of someone taking four wickets in consecutive deliveries, the last being Ali Gauhar in 1995.
Wali struck in his ninth over, removing Test opener Khurram Manzoor, followed by Faraz Ali, Khalid Latif and Daniyal Ahsan. That reduced Port Qasim Authority to 50 for 4 and they were eventually dismissed for 107 but, after Peshawar racked up 490 for 4 declared, the visitors batted their way to safety in the second innings. Wali, who had 5 for 30 in the first innings, finished with match figures of 8 for 181.
Left-armer Wali, 24, is not noted for his pace but can move the ball off the seam and averages 25.01 after making his first-class debut in 2011. A Peshawar local, he represented the inter-district Under-19s but did not reach the national side at that level. Wali was an inconsistent performer at regional level but finished the previous season as Peshawar's leading seamer with 43 wickets at 22.11.
Gul soars with nine-for in HBL win
At the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground, Umar Gul marked his return to form with a nine-wicket haul and a fifty to destroy Lahore Whites in the space of three days. Gul was dropped after Pakistan's ODI series defeat in Bangladesh earlier this year and has missed a major chunk of international cricket since 2013 over fitness and form. He underwent knee surgery but has since struggled to find his rhythm.
Gul took 7 for 32 from 11.1 overs in Lahore Whites' first inning to show his form and later bowled 20 overs in three lengthy spells, picking up two more wickets as Habib Bank Limited won by an innings, to make it a telling statement on his fitness as well. "I am feeling confident at the moment," Gul said. "I spoke to selectors in Rawalpindi and told them that I don't want to come back in one particular format but I am available for all three formats of cricket. My comeback had been delayed due to a nose injury otherwise I could have returned earlier. But now I have no fitness concerns."
Junaid search for form goes on
Junaid Khan, on the other hand, continues to struggle for form. He remained wicketless in the first innings at Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot and finished with match figures of 22-3-91-1 against the inexperienced Federally Administered Tribal Areas team. Junaid last played for Pakistan in Colombo earlier this year and remained on the bench throughout the Test series with England in the UAE, before being released ahead of the third and final match in Sharjah.
Junaid's problems began in October 2014 when he suffered a serious knee injury that forced him to miss series against Australia and New Zealand. He recovered to be named in the squad for the one-dayers in New Zealand ahead of the World Cup, but had a fall while training at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore and was subsequently ruled out of the World Cup too. Junaid has had the leanest patch of his career since his return but was recently named captain of Pakistan A for next month's T20 series against England Lions in the UAE.
Misbah keeps eye in with SNGPL
At Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's Test captain who intended to retire after the England series, gave another clear indication that he is looking to extend his career by turning out for his domestic team SNGPL. Misbah never misses an opportunity to play for SNGPL if not on national duty but the last time he featured for them was at the start of 2014, after Pakistan's series against Sri Lanka. He made 30 and 58 from 40 balls in the draw with Lahore Blues.
If the India series does not happen next month, as expected, he will only have domestic cricket to keep him in form ahead of Pakistan's next Test commitment, which is still seven months away, in England next year. Misbah has signed up for the Bangladesh Premier League and will miss the upcoming rounds of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy due to his T20 engagement. He has also been linked with playing county cricket in England ahead of Pakistan's tour.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson