Pakistan is always known for introducing the finest fast bowlers to cricket. Since the country made their first appearance Pakistani bowlers have cemented their legacy. Pakistani bowlers have always shown dominance over batsmen. Below is a list of Pakistani bowlers who at their prime injected fear into the hearts of batsmen worldwide.
Fazal Mahmood: Known as the spiritual father of Pakistani fast bowling, Fazal Mehmood was the finest pace bowler of Pakistan’s early years. Fazal made his debut against India in 1952 and claimed 2 Wickets for 92 runs.
Fazal in his second appearance claimed 12 wickets for 94 runs, making his team win the game. His match figures of 12/94 are the best by a Pakistani bowler away from home, and were the best by any bowler against India until 1980.
Imran Khan: He played for more than 2 decades from 1971 to 1992 and is the most successful captain of Pakistan’s Cricket Team, leading his team to win 1992 World Cup. Khan is among the few chosen cricketers who have been inducted into ICC Hall of Fame.
Khan always led the team from the front as a captain, and was known for his strategic planning. . He recorded the best Test bowling of his career while taking 8 wickets for 58 runs against Sri Lanka at Lahore in 1981–1982. He also topped both the bowling and batting averages against England in three Test series in 1982, taking 21 wickets and averaging 56 with the bat.
Khan played 48 Test matches, out of which 14 were won by Pakistan, 8 were lost and the rest 26 were drawn. He also played 139 ODIs, winning 77, losing 57 and ending one in a tie.
Wasim Akram: Known as the “Sultan of Swing”, Wasim Akram is one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of cricket. He started his bowling career without any significant performance. He secured his spot in the team by claiming 10 wickets in his very second test. He still holds the record for the highest number of First Class Wickets (881) and second highest number of ODI wickets(502), only behind Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan(800).
Wasim had the ability to swing the bowl both ways, and is known as the founder of reverse swing. He along with his counterpart Waqar Younis remained the most feared bowling pair of the era.
Akram was appointed as the bowling consultant for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2010. He is also responsible for discovering two great fast bowlers, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Amir for the Pakistani cricket team.
Waqar Younis : Dubbed as “The Burewala Express”, Waqar Younis was the half of the ‘Two W’s”. He was the master of reverse swinging yorkers, not letting the opponents put extra pressure on Pakistan.
His technique to aim the stumps instead of the batsman made him the bowler with the most five wickets hauls(22). He also took 10 or more wickets at 5 occasions. Waqar used to bowl full and fast, aiming for the batsman’s toes. He took 416 ODI wickets at a strike rate of 30.5 and 373 test wickets at 43.4. He remain the bowler with best bowling strike rate(43.3) with 200 or more wickets until his record was recently broken by Dale Steyn.
After his retirement, Waqar was appointed as bowling coach of Pakistan in 2006 and was also working as a commentator. In 2010, Waqar became the head coach of Pakistan and the job was handed over to him till August 2011.
Shoaib Akhtar : Known as “Rawalpindi Express”, Shoaib Akhtar is the fastest bowler in the history of cricket. He recorded the fastest delivery(161.3 km/hr) against New Zealand. He was the first bowler to reach 100mph and has bowled at speeds of 160km/hr three times , 159km/hr and 158.4km/hr one each. Akhtar is known to have broken many fast bowling records.
Making his debut in 1997, Akhtar became the fastest bowler in the world, he knew it, he made sure the world knew it as well. Batsmen used to fear his pace and his pace was most useful tool for almost all the captains of his era. His best bowling figure against New Zealand (6 for 16) had the kiwis begging for mercy.
His career was a roller-coaster ride with highs and lows on a regular basis. However, when it came to bowling, and in the aspect of speed, there was no better sight than Akhtar.