I’m sure you’ll all agree that in Pakistan it’s difficult enough to even comment on a comment on an article about cricket, let alone compiling a list of cricket’s top 5’s or 10’s. But here I am doing just that. Why? because I love living on the wild side!! :D
Before I move on, let me clarify one thing: this list is in no particular order. Just as the cricket of yesteryear cannot be compared with the cricket of today, neither can the cricketers. These are just – in my opinion – five of the best batsmen that Pakistan has produced.
Now let’s begin…
1. Hanif Mohammad
The original Little Master and the first star of Pakistani cricket was Hanif Mohammad.
An extremely talented and versatile cricketer, Hanif Mohammad was famous for his immaculate defense and not hitting the ball in the air.
Among others, his records include the longest innings in Test cricket history. He made 337 in that inning, playing for a mammoth 970 minutes (more than 16 hours). Doing this against the West Indies team of those times was no easy feat.
This triple century is the only Test match triple century in a team’s second innings ever!
2. Zaheer Abbas
Often called the “Asian Bradman”, Zaheer Abbas made his Test match debut in 1969. In just his second test match he scored 274 against England. This remains the 4th highest score by a Pakistani batsman ever.
In 1982/1983, Zaheer Abbas became the first batsman to score three consecutive centuries in ODIs.
Zaheer Abbas was also called the ‘Run Machine’. He had immense success as a first class cricketer as well and is the only Asian batsman to have scored 100 first class centuries.
Sunil Gavaskar once said that while playing against Pakistan, Indian players would often say to Zaheer, “Zaheer Ab-bas karo”, because he used to score so freely.
It is also to Zaheer Abbas’s credit that he ended the careers of some Indian spinners. When in 1979 and 1983, India visited Pakistan, his approach to the spinners was so attacking that the Indian spinners lost their rhythm, eventually ending their careers.
3. Javed Miandad
Now who doesn’t remember the 1986 last ball sixer that Javed Miandad hit to win the match against India at Sharjah?
Javed Miandad made his ODI debut in 1975 and test debut against New Zealand in in 1976. In his first test match he scored 163. In the same series, he went on to score a double century and became the youngest player to achieve this feat.
Javed Miandad was included in the Pakistani team because of his raw talent. He became a part of the team when our batting line-up consisted of Majid Khan, Sadiq Muhammad, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Mushtaq Muhammad and Wasim Raja, which is a clear testament to his talent.
Javed Miandad’s 23 centuries and 43 fifties were Pakistani national records till Inzamam-ul-Haq overtook his records.
He was an amazing stroke player to say the least.
4. Saeed Anwer
Saeed Anwar for me is the best and the classiest batsmen that Pakistan has produced.
He could demolish any bowling line up with ease and style. He scored quickly and all around the field and had exquisite timing. He was particularly famous for the “flick” where he could smash the ball pitched outside off stump for six over midwicket.
Named the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1997, he was a crowd favorite for making quick runs.
Including the then highest score in one day cricket, Saeed Anwar has quite a few records to his name, including that of being the first Pakistani to score a century against India on Indian soil in an ODI match.
Saeed Anwar was the first ever batsmen to have scored two successive centuries in ODIs on three separate occasions. He is also one of the select few batsmen who have scored three successive hundreds in ODIs.
According to a statement once made by Ramiz Raja, “[Saeed Anwar] used an eclectic approach to batting – classical betrothed to unorthodox, footwork against spin as quick as a hiccup supple yet powerful to brush the field like a Picasso“.
From the young lad whose efforts led to Pakistan’s victory in the 1992 world cup, Inzamam-ul-Haq went on to become an iconic batsmen for Pakistan.
Inzamam was handpicked by Imran Khan for the 1992 world cup when he was only 22 years old, and relatively unheard of. Although in the early stages of the world cup he was not that effective, his 60 runs from 37 balls was the inning that stole the match from New Zealand. That inning is regarded as one of the best world cup performances, and the six that he hit in that inning was the shot of the tournament. He also contributed a spirited 42 from 35 balls in the final to help Pakistan lift its first world cup.
Inzamam once held the record for scoring the most fifties in ODI, 83 in total, and was the second batsman to score 10,000 runs in ODIs.
With a strike rate of around 74 and an average of 39.5, Inzamam was a force to reckon with.
These are not the only great batsmen that Pakistan has produced. There are the likes of Mohammad Yousuf and Asif Iqbal, who have had great achievements and deserve a mention. I will be sure to mention them in my next post: the top TEN Pakistani batsmen.
(Images Courtesy: pah/flickr, espncricinfo.com)