Just like in nearby countries like India and Bangladesh, cricket is more than just a sport to the Pakistani people – it’s a way of life. Families come together to watch matches, tears are spilled over defeats and fortunes are won and lost on the many reputable betting sites (read this Sportsbet review for just one example) available in the country.
Of course, another hugely enjoyable pastime associated with cricket in Pakistan is debating the finer points of the sport. In that spirit, we’ve outlined who we think are the best five Pakistani cricketers to have ever picked up bat and ball. What do you think? Do you agree with our selections? Or have we overlooked someone obvious? Let us know in the comments section.
5) Javed Miandad
Having scored an incredible 8,832 over the course of his career, and locking down an extremely impressive batting average of 52.57, Javed Miandad is the second most successful test batsman to come out of Pakistan. His glittering career took in over two decades and umpteen world-class bowlers, making his achievements in the sport truly stand out. He also enjoyed the knack of reading the game so well and adjusting his approach based upon it. An enviable skill indeed.
4) Waqar Younis
Not just one of the fastest and most aggressive bowlers in Pakistan, Waqar Younis would rank among the most imperious wielders of the red cherry in the world. His striking rate of 23.56 contributed to a total of 373 wickets in his test career, marking him out as the second most successful Pakistani bowler. His deceptive reverse swing was a particular challenge for even the canniest of batsmen.
3) Wasim Akram
With 414 test wickets under his belt, Wasim Akram is the single most accomplished Pakistani bowler to have ever graced the field. Fondly known as the ‘Sultan of Swing’, Akram possessed the incredible ability to spin in any direction he wished at will, outfoxing all who faced him. He was also an accomplished all-rounder and notched up almost 3,000 runs across his career, including three centuries and one double century. Not bad at all.
2) Younis Khan
Younis Khan is one of only 13 individuals to have scored more than 10,000 runs in test cricket, notching up his 10,000th in 2000. His batting average of 52.24 marks him out as one of the stand-out batsman of his generation, as does his record of 34 centuries. Khan show particular acumen when facing the wiliest of spin bowlers and could always be relied upon to deliver the goods.
1) Imran Khan
Having already covered the two best batsmen and bowlers in Pakistan’s rich cricketing history, who remains? The best all-rounder, of course! Imran Khan’s 362 wickets for his country is the third best of all time, while his 3,709 runs recorded at an average batting rate of 33.41 indicates that he has some serious skills at both ends of the pitch. What’s more, he was a true leader of the sport, setting an impeccable example during his time as captain.
Don’t agree with our selections? Is there an obvious legend of the Pakistani cricket scene – whether he be historic or modern – that we’ve overlooked? Don’t suffer our foolishness in silence, let us hear your thoughts below.