Contrary to reports in some sections of the press, Yasir Arafat's five wickets in six balls for Rawalpindi against the national champions Faisalabad in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy wasn't a world record, but it was an impressive enough feat anyway.
Yasir, 22, who spent the northern summer playing league cricket in Scotland, ended Faisalabad's first innings in a flurry, picking up four wickets in five balls. He had Imran Khalid caught behind for 10, then had the wicketkeeper Kamran Naeem leg-before next ball. After bowling a no-ball, he clean bowled Ali Raza and Shahid Nazir, an ex-Test cricketer, in successive deliveries to end the Faisalabad innings for a paltry 64. When he then came on as first change in Faisalabad's second innings, he trapped Mohammad Hafeez, another ex-Test player, first ball to complete a hat-trick spread over two innings and also, the unusual feat of taking five wickets in six balls.
Yasir ended up with nine wickets in the match, to take his season's tally to 35 from seven games as Rawalpindi beat Faisalabad by six wickets. Faisalabad are already assured of a place in this season's Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against Peshawar.
Only three other bowlers have managed Yasir's feat of five wickets in six balls: Bill Copson for Derbyshire against Warwickshire at Derby in 1937; William Henderson for Northern Transvaal against Orange Free State at Bloemfontein the following winter; and Pat Pocock for Surrey against Sussex at Eastbourne in 1972. But Yasir is alone in achieving it across two innings.
Yasir has been on the fringes of the Pakistan squad for some years now. He has played for Pakistan before, a couple of ODIs between 1999 and 2001. In a match in which Younis Khan also made his debut, Yasir picked up one wicket in five overs, that of Sanath Jayasuriya.
It was a round for near-misses in the record department as another national newspaper reported - again erroneously - that by taking seven dismissals in one innings for Lahore Blues against Karachi Blues on Wednesday, Adnan Akmal had created a national wicketkeeping record. Some newspapers claimed that he equalled the mark set by Wasim Bari and his own brother Kamran Akmal, who is currently playing for the national team in Australia. But in fact Tahir Rasheed, brother of the Pakistan team manager, Haroon Rasheed, holds it. Rasheed claimed nine victims (eight catches and a stumping) for Habib Bank against Pakistan Automobile Corporation (PACO) at Gujranwala in the 1992-93 Patron's Trophy. Kamran Akmal has never claimed seven victims in a single innings.
Osman Samiuddin in a freelance journalist based in Karachi.