Choosing Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis will open the bowling in Pakistans best test XI

Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI

Pakistan Cricket has had some excellent test match players over the years. Picking Pakistan’s all-time test match XI is therefore, not going to be an easy task.

From the likes of Majid Khan to Wasim Akram, Pakistan has never been short of talent. It has often been a matter of which Pakistan will turn up on the day.

So, who makes it into Pakistan’s All-Time Greatest Test Match XI?

The Openers

Saeed Anwar and Hanif Mohammad

Saeed Anwar is one of the two openers in Pakistans best test XI of all-time
Saeed Anwar batting for Pakistan during the 3rd Test Match between England and Pakistan at the Kennington Oval in London, 26th August 1996. The England wicketkeeper is Alec Stewart. Pakistan won by 9 wickets. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The Sturdy and Elegant Openers.

Picking the opening batsmen was not an easy task. Zaheer Abbas and Azhar Ali both missed out on selection, despite averaging nearly 45 in test match cricket. This just goes to show the quality of batting that Pakistan has had over the years.

Hanif Mohammad scored 12 test match centuries throughout his career and 15 half-centuries. In 55 games, he made nearly 4000 runs for Pakistan. His batting average was solid against all oppositions. He averaged nearly 50 against Australia and New Zealand. However, he will always be remembered for the 337 that he scored against the West Indies in Barbados. Until Gary Sobers scored 365, it remained the highest test match score.

Also, Read – Picking England’s All-Time ODI XI

Saeed Anwar was an excellent opening batsman. He is more known for his feats in ODI cricket, but if anything he was a better test match player. Anwar was equally effective against both pace bowling and spin bowling. He played 55 test matches for Pakistan and scored over 4000 test match runs. Saeed Anwar averaged over 40 in all countries apart from South Africa and Zimbabwe.

These two opening batsmen will hopefully give the start that is required in Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI.

The Middle-Order

Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Javed Miandad

Younis Khan is part of the middle-order
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Younis Khan of Pakistan salutes the crowd as he leaves the field after making 218 during day three of the 4th Investec Test between England and Pakistan at The Kia Oval on August 13, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The backbone of Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI.

Four genuinely great batsmen who all averaged above 50 while playing for Pakistan in test match cricket. Inzamam-ul-Haq was a strong and powerful batsman who scored 25 test match centuries for Pakistan. He averaged over 50 in India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Mohammed Yousuf was at the peak of his powers in 2006. In fact, he scored 1788 test match runs that year, averaging just above 99. It remains one of the greatest years ever by an individual batsman in test match cricket. He was a graceful and elegant batsman to watch, especially through the off-side. His double-century at Lords in 2006 was a work of class and he went to score another two centuries that series.

Also, Read – Younis Khan – Pakistan’s Underrated Legend

Younis Khan is perhaps the second greatest test batsman that Pakistan has ever produced. He has achieved the rare feat of scoring a test match century in every country that he has played in. He averaged over 50 in both Australia and England – a remarkable feat for a batsman from the subcontinent. Younis Khan was an excellent sweeper of the ball. It was one of the main shots that helped him score huge volumes of runs in Asia.

Watch – Younis Khan’s 218 helps Pakistan to victory at The Kia Oval 2016

Javed Miandad is, without doubt, the greatest test match batsman that Pakistan has ever produced. He averaged nearly 53 in test match cricket – with his only poor average being against Sri Lanka. His 280 against India in 1982/83 helped Pakistan to a famous innings-victory against their rivals. He also scored double centuries at home, in New Zealand and in England. An easy pick in Pakistan’s all-time greatest test match XI.

The Wicket Keeper

Wasim Bari (WK)

Pakistan wicket keeper Wasim Bari in action against England at Old Trafford, July 1982. (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Getty Images)

The best wicket keeper in Pakistan Cricket history.

Pakistan have unfortunately never been blessed with wicket keepers who have significant batting ability. Moin Khan was perhaps their best, averaging just over 30. But, since Imran Khan makes the side at 8 and Wasim Akram also bats at number 9, we decided to pick the best wicket keeper in Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI.

Wasim Bari played 81 test matches for Pakistan. He only averaged 16 with the bat. In modern-day cricket, this would mean an automatic dismissal from the test match team. However, Imran Khan once said that “Wasim Bari was as good a keeper as the legendary Alan Knott from England.

Also, Read – The Top 5 Wicket Keeper Batsmen In World Cricket

Alan Knott is regarded by many as the greatest test match pure wicket keeper. Therefore, this is praise of the highest order.

He makes it into Pakistan’s Greatest All-Time Test Match XI.

The All-Rounder

Imran Khan (C)

Jun 1985: Pakistan Captain Imran Khan bowls during the Second Test match against England at Lord’s in London. Pakistan won the match by ten wickets. Mandatory Credit: Adrian Murrell/Allsport

Pakistan Cricket’s best ever all-rounder.

Imran Khan was perhaps the easiest pick in this team. He was an outstanding captain for Pakistan and one could easily make a strong case that he remains Pakistan’s best ever test player.

Imran Khan averaged nearly 38 with the bat in test match cricket. Just as a batsman alone, he would have probably made the Pakistan side. But, amazingly, he also picked up 362 test match wickets at a bowling average of just 23.

He averaged over 30 with the bat in Australia, England, India, New Zealand and Pakistan. This shows that he was more than capable of batting in all sorts of conditions. Imran Khan also picked up 23 five-wicket hauls and 6 ten-wicket hauls.

He mastered the art of reverse-swing bowling. This is perhaps what he is most famous for. Imran passed the knowledge on to Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. His contributions to Pakistan Cricket extend beyond his numbers and his legacy.

As a result, he is a true great of both Pakistan and world cricket. Imran Khan is our all-rounder in Pakistan’s greatest test match XI.

The Bowlers – Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI

Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir

Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram celebrates after dismissing England batsman Neil Mallender (right) in the 2nd innings on the fourth day of the 5th Test match between England and Pakistan at the Kennington Oval in London, 9th August 1992. Pakistan won by 10 wickets and win the series 2-1. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

A very strong bowling attack.

Wasim Akram could not be classified on our list of all-rounders. In fact, he fell just short. His bowling average is slightly higher than his batting average. But he is an amazing all-round player. His highest score came against Zimbabwe when he slammed 257 in 1996. He has also scored test centuries against Australia and Sri Lanka.

Watch – Scary Akram Baffles Aussies

His bowling is definitely his strong suit and with Waqar Younis at the other end, prospered like few others. Wasim Akram has taken 414 wickets in 104 test matches. He averaged a brilliant 22 at home, on pitches that had very little support for his bowling. He was a master of reverse swing bowling as well.

Waqar Younis bucked the trend of the 1980s. The West Indies fast bowlers had made it apparent that fast bowling was about short bowling. However, Waqar Younis swung the ball through the air and his main aim was always to hit the stumps. He averaged 23.56 with the ball in test match cricket.

Waqar Younis was also known for his reverse swing bowling and his banana ball, in particular, was difficult for the batsmen to play. It would swing it at pace very late. Like Akram, Waqar prospered at home as well as away.

Both Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed were excellent spinners for Pakistan Cricket in the 1990s.

So, why did they not make Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI?

Abdul Qadir was bowling at a time when leg-spin was considered a rare art. Despite this, he still revelled during his time and became one of the finest to have ever played the game. Rodney Marsh thought he was the best of his time. He is also widely considered to be the best test match spinner in Pakistan’s history.

Also, Read – Picking India’s All-Time Test XI

He picked up 5-wicket hauls in Australia, England, Pakistan and New Zealand. His bowling average of 26.82 at home is very strong. Saqlain Mushtaq has better all-round statistics in a variety of conditions, but the worldwide praise of Abdul Qadir edges him into Pakistan’s all-time Test XI.

The Reserves – Pakistan’s All-Time Test XI

Shoaib Akhtar, Zaheer Abbas, Azhar Ali and Saqlain Mushtaq

Shoaib Akhtar forms part of a strong reserves in Pakistans greatest test XI of all-time
LAHORE, PAKISTAN – DECEMBER 3: Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar celebrates after taking the wicket of England batsman Ian Bell during the Fifth and Final Day of the Third and Final Test Match between Pakistan and England at The Gaddafi Stadium on December 3, 2005 in Lahore, Pakistan. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A healthy set of reserves in Pakistan’s Best Test XI.

Shoaib Akhtar was a much better test match bowler than he is perhaps given credit for. He took 178 wickets in just 46 tests. His bowling average in the subcontinent was very strong. He averaged below 25 in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and just over 26 in Pakistan. He also had an average of 20 in UAE. Plus, he had an amazing test match in New Zealand in 2003. Pakistan won the game by 7 wickets.

However, due to his short test career, Shoaib Akhtar does not feature in Pakistan’s best all-time test XI.

Zaheer Abbas was a superb opening batsmen for Pakistan. Both him and Azhar Ali were incredibly close to making the team as the second opener, alongside Hanif Mohammad. However, Saeed Anwar’s incredible stats worldwide and his fluent batting won him a place in the test team.

Saqlain Mushtaq will be the back-up spinner in this test match squad. He will likely play in Asia when two spinners are required and one of the middle-order batsmen could make way. Since Wasim Akram is more than capable to be a number 8, he would likely move up one slot.

A genuinely great team. Pakistan’s all-time best test XI is a sight to behold!

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