World record brings Yasir into spinners’ hall of fame

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ABU DHABI: Six years to the day after the great Clarrie Grimmett took his final breath in Adelaide, Yasir Shah filled his lungs for the first time, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. They are two leg spinners divided by eras and continents, but joined by a world record that lasted for 82 years until Yasir lifted it from Grimmett’s shoulders yesterday.

Half an hour into the fourth day’s play in Abu Dhabi, Yasir skidded a quicker ball through the defence of New Zealand nightwatchman Will Somerville and into his pads.

The umpire’s finger went up and Yasir had reached 200 wickets in just his 33rd Test, shattering Grimmett’s record of 36 Tests set against South Africa in 1936. “When I started playing cricket I never dreamt of this record, never” said Yasir. “I didn’t even think of ever playing for Pakistan, so having done this much is an extraordinary thing for me.”

The 32-year-old admitted that while he was a big fan of the legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, he knew little about Grimmett. “I learned a lot from watching footage of Warne’s bowling on YouTube,” remembered Yasir. “Never saw Grimmett but when I read the chart of fastest to 200 wickets his name came first. Now it will be mine.” —Agencies

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