Allrounder April 27, 2010

One from five

Pakistan were never short of allrounders. Imran Khan would be the overwhelming choice but there are four others, all also captains, in this shortlist

How often has a Pakistan side turned out on the field without a very decent and capable allrounder in their XI? Not very, for just as the land has always produced fine fast bowlers, it has also provided, if not the same flood, then a steady stream of allrounders from the very off.

Right from AH Kardar in the first Tests, even through men such as Majid Khan and Asif Iqbal, who were good enough bowlers to open early in their careers, through the 1970s trio of Intikhab Alam, Mushtaq Mohammad and Wasim Raja, through Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, Pakistan has been blessed with men who bring enviable balance to their line-up. In his earliest days, even Javed Miandad was a more than useful leggie.

Some have been modest in nature, the extent of their ability being merely to chip in with bat and ball. Others have been unpredictable but explosive game-changers. At least one has bestridden the game like a behemoth, good enough to win matches with bat, ball and both regularly. The best ones, curiously but inevitably, have also captained Pakistan.

The one pick for the all-time XI should not be a difficult one. Imran would probably make it to a number of world XIs as an allrounder, so a Pakistani XI should be a formality. But there has never been, as was the case with Ian Botham, an interminable, debilitating search for the next Imran, proof that Pakistan have been well-served in this role.

Akram's arrival helped but even when his potential with the bat never fully materialised, no one really agonised. Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood don't find their names in this list, but they have both had moments others can only dream of; Razzaq has a Test hundred from one-down and a hat-trick to his name, for example, while Mahmood's three Test hundreds came against strong South African pace attacks.

Imran may tower over everyone, but stiff competition is at hand.

The contenders

AH Kardar
By the time he led Pakistan in their first Test, his best days as a player had gone (he had already played for India and enjoyed a productive spell at Warwickshire). But Kardar still brought a feisty southpaw balance to sides with his left-arm spin - he was once a medium-pacer - and naturally aggressive middle-order batting. If the numbers look ordinary it is because they don't take into account his leadership and that trait nudges him into allrounder territory. Like Mike Brearley, he is almost worth a place in the side for his captaincy, for no Pakistan leader - not even Imran - did as much as Kardar to ensure Pakistan arrived with such gusto to the cricket world.

Imran Khan Imran was widely considered by many to be the most accomplished from cricket's golden quartet of allrounders in the 80s; that he was the most successful captain strengthens the case for favourable comparison alongside Sir Garry Sobers as simply the greatest allrounder ever. A devastating fast bowler for 12 years through the 70s and 80s - among the quickest at one stage - and a technically accomplished middle-order batsman, for the last 10 years of his career Imran averaged over 50 with the bat and under 20 with the ball, almost incomparable anywhere. As well as London's swankiest nightspots, he was most often found at the very heart of all Pakistan's most sensational cricketing moments.

Intikhab Alam After the retirement of Kardar, Intikhab plugged a crucial gap through the 60s and early 70s as Pakistan's leading allrounder. Always a quality legspinner - his first ball in Test cricket got him a wicket, and it was, the legend goes, a wrong 'un - Inti was at his best with the bat lower down the order and the side in a fix. The most memorable of his nine 50-plus scores came from No. 10 - 51 in the epic ninth-wicket 190-run stand with Asif Iqbal at The Oval in 1967. He led Pakistan nobly and with good grace, much needed after the captaincy fiascos of the 60s.

Mushtaq Mohammad Mushtaq was arguably Pakistan's best allrounder pre-Imran. Unlike Inti, his legspinning allrounder contemporary, batting was comfortably Mushtaq's stronger suit. But from the resumption of his career in the late 60s, his bowling improved considerably. On his day, as West Indies found out in 1976, when the flipper came out right, he could be seriously dangerous. He was an imaginative, significant captain as well and is only one of four men in Test history - Jacques Kallis, Sobers and Botham are the others - to have scored a hundred and taken five wickets in an innings more than once; also, one of two to score a double-hundred and take a five-for.

Wasim Akram For many years the heir apparent to Imran, Akram has few equals in Pakistan when it comes to turning matches with a short, sharp burst with the ball, or an equally brief but effective swing of the bat. His batting was never sound enough to form the basis of prolonged, consistent success, but Imran thought him to be more talented than himself and on days - Lord's 1992, the the MCG 1992, Adelaide 1989-90 - he could change a game with the bat and show enough flexibility to strongly suggest greater application might have produced greater results. Bowling, though was, more often than not, where it was at with Akram.

We'll be publishing an all-time Pakistan XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your allrounder click here

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gallant_cricketer on April 30, 2010, 23:52 GMT

    Beat this team:

    1: Hanif; 2: Majid, 3: Zaheer, 4: Miandad, 5: Inzamam, 6. Mushtaq, 7: Imran, 8: Imtiaz, 9: Wasim, 10: Waqar, 11: Fazal.

    Qadir will play instead of Fazal if the wicket is anticipated to be a spinning wicket.

  • S-murtaza-H on April 30, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    If South africa can choose two all rounders for all time elleven Aubrey Faulkner and Mike Procter, then why not Pakistan as Wasim Akram and Imran Khan in the same elleven. THINK about that...

  • kiraj777 on April 30, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    RezaThahir - man u just posted the best possible 11. So totally agree with u. Other dimwits who mention Afridi and some of the other newer players for an all time pak 11 - go learn your cricket history kiddos. That's the 11...and please don't ever try and compare Shoaib Chuckter with Waqar....plzzzz, it is blasphemy, sacrilage...Waqar was the swing bowling god...he could swing the ball even when god couldn't...with a perfectly legal action and so much more class....

  • dummy4fb on April 30, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    1. Saeed Anwar (A.Sohail, S.K.Afridi) 2. Hanif Muhammad (Mudassar, Mohsin) 3. Javed Miandad (Ramiz Raja) 4. Inzamam-ul-Haq (Muhammad Yousuf) 5. Zaheer Abbas 6. Kamran Akmal (Rashid, Moin) 7. Abdul Razzaq (Sarfaraz Nawaz) 8. Wasim Akram 9. Imran Khan (Fazal Mehmood) 10. Saqlain Mushtaq (M.Ahmed, A.Qadir, I.Qasim) 11. Waqar Younis (Shoaib Akhtar)

  • Faisal_Sherwani on April 30, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    Only & Only Imran Khan and also as a Captain.

  • Cricconnoisseur on April 30, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    I am an Indian, but waiting eagerly to see the final All time Pakistan XI. I literally live on Cricinfo, but if they are stupid enough to ask us choose between Wasim and Imran, thereby eleminating one of them, I would stop following this website altogether. Where did you guys get this ridiculous idea from? The last 6 in Pakistan all time XI shoudl read: Imran, Wicket keeper (Latif is my choice), Akram, Waqar, Qadir,Saqlain

  • vikasbindra on April 30, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    imran khan is a better bowler than wasim akram as i suspect to the knowledge in my bellief there is a bowler named waqar younis who is a really quick but imran khan is a bowler who has make pasistan cricket better in globe.

  • adnan.abid on April 30, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    I'll go for Imran Khan and Wasim will easily be among the bowlers.. rather whosoever you choose, the other one will be among the bowlers. Apart from this, both of them shall be the members for all time Pakistan teams for all 3 formats of the game.

  • S-murtaza-H on April 29, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    I am going for Great Wasim Akram, We are going to choose team against best batsmen in the world. Wasim was no. at batsman and Imran was no.5 at batting order, No team in the world can be compleet with out Wasim.

  • SomilNanda on April 29, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    i thought this would be the easiest pick till i saw Imaran and Akram both nominated for single slot. This is ridiculous. Both of them can easily fine a place in all time world best XI and here they are competing for 1 place in Pakistan XI.

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