Pakistan is known for terrorizing the world with its fast bowling. It seems they have a hidden factory of fast bowling talents that they have been producing over decades. Talents like Imran Khan, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, Younis Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Saqlian Mushtaq have brought great success to their country with the bowl.
Even with the bat, their talents like Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Misbah, Javed Miandad, Babar Azam are dominating world cricket. Hence, it's fair to say the team hasn’t been short of talent since 1952 when they made their debut.
Since then, different decades saw different superstars for them, one won the World Cup, another the T20 World cup and the recent ones won the Champions trophy. However, who are the ones whose names are written on the top of their books of legends? Let's find out the top 10 greatest Pakistani cricketers.
10. Javed Miandad
The hero with the bat for Pakistan in the 1992 world cup, Javed Miandad makes it to the 10th on the list. He was the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in the world cup with 437 runs.
Miandad is one of the greatest batting talents as his vision on how to build up the innings is rare to find. His ability to hit hard-hitting over-the-top shots made him a fans favorite.
Miandad is the second-highest run-scorer for Pakistan in test matches with 8,832 runs and the 4th highest in all formats.
9. Mohammad Yousuf
Mohammad Yousuf is one of the great middle-order batsman for Pakistan. He was a treat to watch in all the formats. He is the 2nd most run-scorer for Pakistan in ODI’s with 9,554 runs.
He has also dominated the Test, in 2006 Yousuf scored 1788 runs in a calendar year which is a record to date. Speaking of records, he also made 9 centuries that year, the most in any single calendar year.
Yousuf was awarded ICC test player of the year in 2007 for his tremendous display of cricket. The way he troubled Warne and McGrath is something most batsmen failed to do. His void can still be felt In Test cricket for Pakistan.
8. Younis Khan
Another great treasure for Pakistan is Younis Khan. He is arguably one of the greatest middle-order batsmen in the Test.
Starting which, Younis has scored the most runs as well as most centuries for Pakistan in Test cricket with 10,099 runs and 34 centuries. This makes him the only Pakistani player to score 10,000 runs in Test.
He is also the only player in the world to score a century against all 11 playing nations. Speaking about his abilities in a contrasting format, the T20i. Younis proved his mettle when he led Pakistan to their maiden T20 title in 2009.
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7. Shoaib Akhtar
The Rawalpindi Express is one of the most lethal bowlers the world has seen. Unarguably the fastest bowler, he clocked 161.3 km/h against England in 2003, which remains the fastest bowl bowled in cricket to date.
Shoaib was part of the deadly trio of Wasim-Waqar- Shoaib. That lineup was enough to scare the opponents. However, one of the amusing facts is that Shoaib has taken just 438 wickets in all the formats, which is quite less than expected. He is the 7th highest wicket-taker for Pakistan.
6. Saqlain Mushtaq
One of the most underrated and forgotten spinners in today’s times is Saqlain Mushtaq. The great spinner of the game was very well educated in his department and knew how to spin the web for the opponent.
Mushtaq invented ‘doosra’ the ball which the next-gen players have added to their list. From Murali, Ashwin to any world-class off-spinner today must credit Saqlain Mushtaq for doosra.
One fact that might shock the readers is that Saqlain’s career was short-lived as he played for just 9 years and retired at the age of 31.
In these 9 years, he has picked 496 wickets. He was the fastest to 200 and 250 wickets in ODI. It's not wrong to imagine had he played the amount of cricket as Murali, then who would have had the most wickets?
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Inzamam is the best batsman Pakistan has seen. He debuted in 1991 and straightaway made an impact to the side and rose to fame in the 1992 World Cup. He scored a crucial 60 against New Zealand in the semi-finals that helped Pakistan reach the finals.
Inzamam scored 20,541 runs in his career, making him the highest run-scorer in Pakistan’s history. He is also their top scorer in ODi’s.
4. Shahid Afridi
‘Boom Boom Afridi’ the title isn’t a fluke. Afridi is one of the most destructive, hard-hitting, and aggressive batsmen in world cricket. He is also the greatest all-rounder Pakistan has witnessed. Not the best player in Test, but unstoppable when it comes to ODi and T20i.
Afridi held a record of scoring a century in 37 deliveries, a record that stood for 17 years. Afridi has taken 538 wickets and scored 11,148 runs in his career. Afridi is one of the only 3 all-rounders in the world to score 10,000 runs and take 500 wickets.
3. Imran Khan
The man who started the legacy of fast bowling in Pakistan, the legend Imran Khan. Khan, inspired by Denis Lillie was the first lethal fast bowler in Pakistan, he was an all-rounder and debuted for Pakistan at the age of 18.
Fearless and fierce, Imran rattled opponents' stumps on every occasion and ended his career with 544 wickets. The 3rd highest wicket-taker in all formats for Pakistan.
In 1987, Imran retired from cricket but was asked to return and upon his return, he won them the 1992 world Cup. He was the instrumental figure in the finals, his knock of 72 helped Pakistan win their first-ever World Cup.
Not just does he contribute to Pakistan's cricket with bat and bowl, but he is believed to be the man behind the findings of Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Waqar Younis.
2. Waqar Younis
Waqar made his famous debut alongside Sachin Tendulkar on 15th November 1989. Waqar Younis is one of the few bowlers in the history of cricket to bowl a ball at that speed and also reverse the ball.
He was known for his toe-crushing Yorkers, fine inswinging deliveries. He alongside Wasim Akram formed a deadly duo. Waqar was the youngest to take 400 wickets in ODI.
He is the second leading wicket-taker for Pakistan in world cricket. He has taken 789 wickets.
1. Wasim Akram
The King of Swing is the best bowler and the cricketer to dawn the Pakistan jersey. Even people across the globe would salute the maestro of Wasim Akram in swinging the ball. He is also the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan with 916 wickets.
He was a lethal asset with his reverse swings and a key figure for Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup. He was the highest wicket-taker in the 1992 World Cup. He is the most prolific fast bowler in ODI history. Perhaps the best bowler in ODI.
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