Pakistan all-time Test XI: Younis Khan, Zaheer Abbas feature as Imran Khan leads

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  • Compiling an all-time XI is never the most straightforward of tasks, especially for a country which has a rich cricket history like Pakistan.

    As such, we have enlisted the help of our social media followers to pick an all-time XI. More than 30 players were taken into consideration as we threw open the voting floor.

    Follow our Instagram account to get more involved as we try to compile all-time Test XIs for the major cricketing nations around the world.

    Here is the all-time Pakistan Test XI based on the choices of our followers, along with the choices considered.

    Openers: Saeed Anwar, Hanif Mohammad, Mohammad Hafeez, Mudassar Nazar, Mohsin Khan, Majid Khan

    Middle-order: Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Yousuf, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Misbah-ul-Haq, Saleem Malik, Asad Shafiq

    Wicketkeeper: Rashid Latif, Sarfraz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Kamran Akmal, Wasim Bari

    Spinners: Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Abdul Qadir, Danish Kaneria

    Pacers: Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Fazal Mahmood


    Saaed Anwar – Opener


    Elegance oozed though Saeed Anwar’s batting style, with the left-hander’s superb timing and placement being his hallmark. His career actually started off in disastrous fashion, with the opener bagging a pair on Test debut against the West Indies in 1990.

    He wasn’t given another Test outing until 1994, and he bounced back with a bang in a 169-run knock against New Zealand at Basin Reserve. With 11 tons in just 91 innings, Anwar had established himself as one of the best openers in the business. Sadly, a personal tragedy forged the batsman to retire prematurely from the game in 2001. Although he did make a comeback in the ODI format, Anwar would not play any more Tests for Pakistan.

    Hanif Mohammad – Opener


    There was hardly anything Hanif Mohammad couldn’t do on the cricket field, with the all-rounder capable of keeping wickets as well as bowling some off-spinners. However, it was with the bat that he truly excelled and his batsmanship catapulted him to the status of Pakistan’s first genuine cricket superstar.

    An opener who registered 12 tons in 55 Tests, Mohammad’s greatest feat came in Bridgetown in 1958 against the West Indies. Spending more than 15 hours at the crease, the right-hander became Pakistan’s first triple centurion in a marathon innings of 337.  A year later in Karachi, he was agonisingly run-out for 499 runs in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class clash. That first-class record of 499 runs stood for 35 years before Brian Lara struck an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire in 1994.

    Zaheer Abbas – Middle-order

    Zaheer Abbas

    That he was often labelled as the Asian Don Bradman tells you all you need to know about Zaheer Abbas’ genius with the bat. An aggressive and stylish batsman who loved dealing in boundaries, the right-hander was a sight to behold when in full flow.

    Equally powerful on the front-foot and the back-foot, Abbas’ talent was clear to see in just his second Test when he slammed a double ton against England in Edgbaston (1971). The Pakistan man loved to turn up the style when playing against India in particular, with six of his 12 overall Test tons coming against the arch-rivals.

    He remains the only Asian batsman to have brought up a century of first-class centuries. While he exited the Pakistan Test team acrimoniously in 1986, Abbas remains one of the best batsmen to have emerged from the country.

    Younis Khan – Middle-order


    While he did register a century on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2000, Younis’s brilliance really started coming off on a more consistent basis towards the end of 2004.

    Between 2004 and 2015, he averaged more than 50 with the bat in each year bar one (2012). By the time he retired in 2017, the right-hander has established his legacy as Pakistan’s greatest Test batsman with 10,099 runs and 34 centuries to his name.

    He was one of the pivotal pillars of the Pakistan squad which attained the No1 ranking in Tests. Like Zaheer Abbas before him, Younis had a penchant for reserving his best for matches against India. He averaged more than 88 against the Indians with the help of five centuries including a match-winning 267 in Bengaluru in 2005.

    Javed Miandad – Middle-order


    Javed Miandad was destined for greater things ever since he slammed a majestic 163 in his maiden Test innings against New Zealand in 1976. His star rose even further when he struck 206 and 85 against the same opponents in the third Test of the series.

    After his explosive introduction to international cricket, Miandad rarely those lofty standards he had set in his maiden series slip. His career batting average never dipped below 50 and by the time he retired, he had accumulated nearly 9,000 runs at an average of 52.57.

    A genuine match-winner, who excelled in both the Test and ODI formats, Miandad had a knack of turning up when the team needed it the most. While Younis might have surpassed his run and century tallies in the end, Miandad is still widely considered as the greatest batsman to don a Pakistan jersey.

    Mohammad Yousuf – Middle-order


    A part of a formidable middle-order also containing Younis Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf was a rock who loved to bat big.

    The elegant right-handed had an almost languid style which made batting look easy when he was in full flow. While his overall returns of 7,530 runs at an average of more than 52 are commendable in itself, Yousuf’s peak was really something else.

    In 2006, he registered a staggering nine tons across 11 Tests while amassing 1,788 runs in the process. It remains the most prolific calendar year by any batsman in Test history to date, both in terms of runs and centuries.

    Moin Khan – Wicketkeeper

    Moin (1)

    Though the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed and Kamran Akmal have amassed more runs, Moin Khan gets the nod for his ability to bat with the tail.

    He wasn’t the most elegant of batsmen by any stretch of the imagination, but the right-hander was mighty effective for the most part. Although he had to constantly compete with Rashid Latif for the wicketkeeper’s slot, Moin won more often than not, due to his superior batting abilities.

    Four centuries and 15 fifties in 104 innings are not really the most prolific of returns, though they came during an era where wicketkeepers were not expected to excel with the bat.

    Imran Khan (C) – Pacer/All-rounder

    Imran Khan bowls for Pakistan

    For a man who is now the Prime Minister of the country, Imran Khan’s leadership abilities were evident from his cricketing days. He is the greatest captain that Pakistan has produced, and arguably the finest cricketer as well.

    Among the greatest all-rounders to have played the game, Imran Khan sits at the top of the pile with a batting average of nearly 38 and a bowling average of 22.81. While he was an accomplished batsman in his own right, Imran Khan could have walked into the team on his bowling abilities alone.

    Although his pace might have slightly declined in the second half of his career, Imran Khan only got better as a cricketer with age. In his final 10 years in cricket, the all-rounder averaged more than 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball.

    Abdul Qadir – Spinner


    In an era where wrist-spin had gone out of fashion, Abdul Qadir brought it back in vogue once again through his artistry with the ball. The leg-spinner had every known variation in his arsenal, be it the googly, flipper or the straighter one.

    While he struggled against India with a bowling average of 51.52, Qadir was a thorn in the necks of the English batsmen at the time. Eighty two of his 236 Test scalps came against England, including his career-best of 9-56 in Lahore in 1987.

    Those figures still remain the best ever produced by any Pakistan bowler in history, and will likely stand the test of times.

    Waqar Younis – Pacer

    Waqar Younis of Pakistan

    Having started off his career as an out and out fast bowler, Waqar Younis made his name as one of the finest proponents of the art of reverse swing. Having learnt the art through Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz, the pacer terrorised plenty of batsmen with his in-swinging and toe-crushing yorkers.

    Among all bowlers to have claimed at least 200 Test dismissals, Waqar’s strike-rate of 43.4 has only been bettered by South Africa’s Dale Steyn. He forged a lethal pace partnership for Pakistan along with Wasim Akram for the best part of the 1990s.

    A pacer who loved to bowl at the stumps, Waqar finished his Test career with 373 wickets at an average of 23.56.

    Wasim Akram – Pacer

    Pakistan`s bowler Wasim Akram celebrates the runou

    Arguably the best left-armed pacer to have played cricket, Wasim Akram was the master of both swing and seam in a career spanning nearly two decades.

    The Lahore-born fast bowler could move the ball both ways at pace with a bowling action that was poetry in motion. With 414 scalps, Akram remains Pakistan’s all-time leading wicket-taker. He was equally prolific in the ODI format as well, and bowed out with a tally of 502 dismissals.

    While his bowling abilities are rightly lauded, the left-hander was no mug with the bat either. He registered three Test tons over the course of his career, including an unbeaten 257 against Zimbabwe. With him and Waqar in tow, Pakistan had the most fearsome new-ball duo in the business in the 1990s.