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Pakistan were never short of allrounders. Imran Khan would be the overwhelming choice but there are four others, all also captains, in this shortlist
April 27, 2010
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.
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
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