Pakistan XI
ESPNcricinfo picks the best Test teams of all time

The XI

A batsman's nightmare

With a bowling line-up in which Imran Khan is an afterthought, Pakistan's all-time team looks well-nigh invincible

Osman Samiuddin

May 24, 2010

Comments: 186 | Text size: A | A

Imran Khan shines the ball, England v Pakistan, 5th Test, The Oval, 4th day, August 10, 1987
Multiple roles: Imran Khan, who makes the side as fast bowler and allrounder, is one of four players in the XI to receive 10 votes © PA Photos
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And so finally, 10 men, six categories and 198 Test players come together to produce one all-time Pakistan XI.

It wasn't, on final balance, as difficult a task as it may have initially appeared. As many as four players were unanimous picks: Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis would in all likelihood be among the top contenders on any such global list. Two more batting greats, Hanif Mohammad and Inzamam-ul-Haq, were near-unanimous selections, with nine votes each. And with Abdul Qadir picking up eight votes as the sole spinner, it means as many as seven of an all-time Pakistan XI pick themselves.

Pleasingly perhaps, the XI takes in players from all eras, recognition of the prolific ability of the land to keep producing talent no matter the circumstances of the time and era: Hanif Mohammad and Fazal Mahmood from the 50s and 60s, Zaheer Abbas, Miandad, Imran and Qadir from the 70s through to the early 90s, and the rest from the mid-80s onwards. Tellingly, given how Pakistan have fared this last decade, the latest Test debutant is Rashid Latif (1992). The choice of Latif, in fact, wasn't a straightforward one; his greater batting ability tips the scales in his favour.

Finally, a word about the shape of the line-up. Pakistan have been at their best when they have played attacking, aggressive cricket, Almost exclusively, that has come from the nature of their bowling attack, which is why the all-time XI has a four-man bowling attack and Imran Khan.

Some might argue that another specialist middle-order batsman should have been in the line-up, but the selection assumes picking players at the peak of their skills. So Imran's naturally solid technique provides a robust enough presence at six, around which the line-up pivots. Latif and Akram below him add up to almost another batsman.

That leaves the bowling attack to be as spectacular as any that can be conceived. Just imagine a four-man fast-bowling attack of the variety, skill and pace of this one: Imran, Fazal, Wasim and Waqar. With Qadir backing up, there is enough wicket-taking threat here to trouble any batting side, on any surface, from any era.

The XI

Saeed Anwar
"He used an eclectic approach to batting - classical betrothed to unorthodox, footwork against spin as quick as a hiccup, and wrists supple yet powerful to brush the field like a Picasso." Ramiz Raja

Hanif Mohammad
"Hanif bestrode the cricket world like a Colossus of Rhodes. His patience was monumental, his judgement unique; fearless of his opponents, he shared his respect for them, both in victory and defeat. In common with many great sporting figures of the 20th century, his legend continues to grow with time." Khadim Baloch

Zaheer Abbas
"Zaheer Abbas' consistency both at first-class level and in Tests was phenomenal. Where his contemporaries struggled he remained calm and calculating, displaying his technique against great spinners of time; and not a bad player of fast bowling." Qamar Ahmed

Javed Miandad
"He was positive and aggressive in his approach, and the tougher the situation the more he seemed to revel in the challenge. His enthusiasm was extremely infectious, which made him one of the best team men I have ever had the pleasure to play with or against." Tony Greig

Inzamam-ul-Haq
"Inzamam was colossal in frame, ability, and attitude. He could play strokes all around the wicket with brute strength or exquisite subtlety. But what made Inzi great was his determination to stand firm as his illustrious colleagues collapsed around him. He was the rock that broke the onslaught of Pakistan's opponents. A few last stands would have been remarkable. To do it for over a decade was genius." Kamran Abbasi

Imran Khan
Imran combined thoughtfulness with a natural ability which had always been outstanding. What brought about this transformation, as Imran readily admits, was his appointment to the captaincy of Pakistan. This sense of responsibility turned a fine cavalier into a great cricketer. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Rashid Latif
"Few wicketkeepers in Pakistan have been as athletic and yet as unobtrusive as Latif. A dive in front of first slip was often accomplished with the same ease of a regular, standing take; and to spin, he was outstanding and swift. His errors are difficult to remember. His batting, combative and elegant, was vastly underrated." Osman Samiuddin

Wasim Akram
"If I ever get a chance to be reborn as a cricketer, I would want to be Wasim Akram."
Allan Border

Fazal Mahmood
"Fazal Mahmood was a great human being, always willing to help anyone who sought his advice. He was the doyen of Pakistan bowlers in the formative years and all our wins since we started playing Test cricket were indebted to him. It was just because of his bowling feats that Pakistan achieved the rare honour of beating every country in our early series in the 1950s and 60s." Hanif Mohammad

Abdul Qadir
"In the pantheon of wrist-spinners he [Qadir] surely ranks near the very top. Facing him or Warne at their best must have been as severe a test of a batsman's nerve and capacity as any slow bowler has ever represented. But unlike Warne, Qadir was always on the attack. He knew no other way... When it comes to deception, as in the way in which he disguised his googly and various legbreaks, not to mention his flipper, he was a real little sorcerer." John Woodcock

Waqar Younis
Beyond doubt Waqar is an outstanding bowler, probably the finest to emerge from Pakistan since Fazal Mahmood. This is a bowler of brilliance and élan, a bowler as entertaining in his way as any batsman, as enthralling as any spinner, a bowler who could become, as Imran predicted, the greatest of them all. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Cricinfo readers' XI
We invited readers to vote on the nominees in each segment. Here's who they picked:
Saeed Anwar, Hanif Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Bari, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Qadir, Waqar Younis.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by known_stranger on (May 27, 2010, 19:44 GMT)

My mind is still confused why yousuf is not placed in all time xi. see below his stats which are stronger then inzimam and miandad.

tests 88 innings 152 runs 7431 average 53.07 strikerate 52.38 centuries 24 fifties 32

ODIs 282 Innings 267 runs 9624 average 42.39 centuries 15 fifties 64

Posted by known_stranger on (May 27, 2010, 17:54 GMT)

@waspsting fully agreed what you have said

Posted by RUQQ on (May 27, 2010, 15:02 GMT)

There is no doubt about these are the best players Pakistan Cricket ever produced. I choose 10 of them out of 11. I chose Saqlain Mushtaq instead of Abdul Qadir. Still no regret as Abdul Qadir is the best Leg Spinner Pakistan ever produced and same on the other side Saqlain Mushtaq is the best off spinner for this country.

Qadir gave rebirth to right arm leg spinner. when he came in Pakistan team it was time of fast bowling. West Indies, Australia, England were very much dependable on Holding, Roberts, Garner, Lille, Thompson, Willis, Old. even in Pakistan Imran and Sarfaraz were main strike bowlers. India was mostly depends on spinner like Bedi and co.

My only problem is in this team, excepts Qadir all other 10 players lead the country in their time. Who will be leading this side..... give a surprise....

WAQAR YOUNUS as he has the best win-loss ratio, If I am right...

Posted by waspsting on (May 27, 2010, 11:50 GMT)

@known_stranger - I agree about the lack of support Yousuf has got from the board, but its the way of the Pakistan in general - disgusts me, actually. The media hyped Lara and Tendulkar - and their reputations got so big that umpires were scared to give the marginal decision against them What about Inzamam-Ul-Haq? THe pakistan press did NOTHING for him, and i believe because of that, he was 'given out' in doubtful situations two to three times more often then a player with a bigger rep would have been. Yousuf has got even less support (i suppose because he was a a minority). look at how Australian board stuck behind Mark Waugh and Warne - they concealed known offenses from the world. Pakistan? - an allegation - and Salim Malik was out of the team. (Ganguly was treated shabbily by the Indian board, IMO). Pakistan hurt themselves, and their teams performance with this type of thing. If Murali were Pakistani, his career would have been over when Hair called him for throwing. Disgraceful.

Posted by rzi-BDML on (May 27, 2010, 8:51 GMT)

my choice was same as selected by readers, only Wasim Bari/Rashid, shoib/Fazal r the differences from the experts great

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (May 27, 2010, 0:41 GMT)

FOR all those who try to compare Zaheer to yousef or Younis should know that a batsman of Zaheers era with 40 average is as good as a batsman of present era with average of 55. Flat piches of today combined with all the protective gear is all together a different story.

Posted by Riazzz on (May 26, 2010, 22:08 GMT)

I am wondering that why Mudassar Nazar was left out from this side. He was a superb opening batsman and with a great medium pace bowling he was a genuine all rounder for Pakistan. He should have been selected in this side. He was the first Pakistani player to take 100 ODI wickets. With over 4000 runs and 66 wickets in test cricket and with over 2500 runs and 111 wickets in ODI he really deserved to be in this side.

Posted by km00 on (May 26, 2010, 21:47 GMT)

Here is what Pakistan 2nd XI will look like: Majid Khan, Imtiaz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Mushtaq Mohammad, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Raja, Sarfraz Nawaz, Saqlain Mushtaq, Sohaib Akhter, Mohammad Asif. It has the balance and variety in both pace and spin. And with Imtiaz able to open the innings, it provides the batting depth needed. Picking the captain will be tricky but looking back at the record, Mushtaq should be an easy choice. It'll sure give some good competition to the 1st XI.

Posted by   on (May 26, 2010, 20:59 GMT)

Pakistans Legendaries All time great players Pakistan has always produced such a talent, Nation and Country is proud of. Long Live Pakistan

Posted by IGL2010 on (May 26, 2010, 20:39 GMT)

will BARI the ever present selector or something in PCB approve this team? also is Zaheer Abbas willing to bat at 1 down?

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

Pakistan Jury

Arif Abbasi
Arif Abbasi
Served Pakistan cricket in a number of administrative capacities through the 1980s and 90s. Was a key member of the organising committee for the 1996 World Cup.
XI: Aamer Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Mohsin Khan, Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis, Rashid Latif, Mohammad Zahid
Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi
A cricket writer for Dawn, Cricinfo and The Wisden Cricketer. Advised on the change in the throwing law; once hit Michael Atherton for three successive boundaries, and also bowled former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Anwar, Majid Khan, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Moin Khan, Wasim Akram, Abdul Qadir, Waqar Younis
Qamar Ahmed
Qamar Ahmed
Played first-class cricket for Sindh, South Zone and Hyderabad, and coached in Holland. Has reported on 370 Tests, over 700 ODIs and eight World Cups for such media outlets as the BBC, Reuters, AFP, The Times, The Guardian, Dawn, ABC, ESPN and Ten Sports.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir, Sarfraz Nawaz
Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam
Played 47 Tests (captained in 17) and four ODIs for Pakistan as a legspinning allrounder between 1959 and 1977. Was manager-coach of the 1992 World Cup-winning side, and had two stints as coach of the national side.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Bari, Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir
Khadim Baloch
Khadim Baloch
The Pakistan Cricket Board's first advisor on Archives, Museum and Library. Has written on the history of Karachi cricket as well, and an encyclopedia of Pakistan cricket.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Majid Khan, Javed Miandad, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Wasim Bari, Fazal Mahmood, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis
Shaharyar Khan
Shaharyar Khan
Managed the Pakistan side on the 1998-99 tour of India. Served as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board in the 2000s. Has also written two books on the game.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Rashid Latif, Abdul Qadir, Wasim Akram, Fazal Mahmood, Waqar Younis
Chishty Mujahid
Chishty Mujahid
Former director of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Radio and television commentator for over 40 years, for the likes of PTV, Ten Sports, SABC and All India Radio.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Mudassar Nazar, Younis Khan, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Imran Khan, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir
Salahuddin Mulla
Salahuddin Mulla
Played five Tests for Pakistan in the 1960s, and club cricket in Scotland. Served on nine different national selection committees from 1980 on, twice as chief selector.
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Wasim Bari, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir
Ramiz Raja
Ramiz Raja
Played 57 Tests (five as captain) and 198 ODIs for Pakistan between 1984 and 1997. Served as CEO of the PCB in the first half of the 2000s. Currently a commentator.
XI: Saeed Anwar, Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Javed Miandad, Mohammad Yousuf, Imran Khan, Wasim Bari, Wasim Akram, Abdul Qadir, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis.
Osman Samiuddin
Osman Samiuddin
Pakistan editor of Cricinfo
XI: Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Abdul Qadir.

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