There are several performances that stand out from the last seven days of international cricket. The three Test matches that were played each produced record-breaking feats or career-defining moments, which makes it a difficult decision to choose this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week.
The match in Napier, where New Zealand trounced Zimbabwe by an innings and plenty, was notable for the tourists’ first innings total of 51 being their lowest in their Test history; while their double dismissal on day three represented only the third time that both of a side’s innings had started and ended on the same day.
The chief architect of their destruction was Chris Martin – who ended the day with scarcely credible match figures of eight for 31 – although he was gracious enough to admit after the match that it had been a team effort. Earlier, Ross Taylor and BJ Watling had both scored centuries to allow the home side to declare on 495 for seven.
Over in Adelaide it was the same old story as, thanks to double centuries from Michael Clarke (210) – who became the first captain to score a triple and double-hundred in the same series – and Ricky Ponting (221) the home side subjected India to their second consecutive away series whitewash, with Virat Kohli’s defiant maiden century the sole bright point for India.
However, it is from the wreck of England’s disastrous second innings in Abu Dhabi – which it must be said was preceded by a fine spell of bowling from Monty Panesar (six for 62) – that this week’s award winner emerges. Abdur Rehman – a previously unheralded and underrated left-arm spinner from Sialkot in the north-eastern Pakistani province of Punjab – took six wickets for just 25 runs in England’s back-footed capitulation of 72, and, in doing so, brought the tourists’ pretensions of word domination sharply into focus. The 31 year-old, until then, had achieved Test best figures of four for 51 against Bangladesh, and, prior to the match, was virtually an unknown quantity to many in the travelling English media.
He made his Test debut as far back as in 2007 in a series against South Africa, but was discarded thereafter until doubts emerged about the integrity of incumbent spinner Danish Kaneria on Pakistan’s ill-fated tour of England in 2010. Since then he and Saeed Ajmal have been a more or less permanent fixture in Pakistan’s Test line-up and have played a vital role in their resurgence under the fatherly figure of Misbah-ul-Haq.
Prior to this, he had risen through the ranks in Gujranwala, as well as briefly representing Pakistan at Under-19 level, and now plays for either Sialkot or Habib Bank Limited in Pakistan’s domestic competitions.
© Cricket World 2012