Pakistan is known to be a land of fast the bowlers, but over the years, they have produced high-quality spinners as well. Over the years, the spinners from Pakistan remained under the shadows of their deadly fast bowlers, despite their dominance, the spinners too have had some sensational performances in the past. Abdul Qadir kept the art of leg break alive in an era of fast bowlers; Saqlain Mushtaq invented a delivery(doosra) which later on became the surprise delivery for the upcoming generation bowler. So here, we present to you the “Top 10 Pakistani Spinners of all time”:
1. Abdul Qadir
He was a bowler who revolutionized in an era of fast bowlers. He was the man who kept alive the dying art of leg break in the 80s. He was a bowling idol for many, including legends like Shane Warne and Anil Kumble. He took 368 International wickets for Pakistan. Graham Gooch, who played against both Qadir and Warne, said that Qadir’s deliveries were more challenging to read.
2. Saqlain Mushtaq
He played for Pakistan between 1995-2004. He debuted against Sri Lanka in both ODI and test cricket. He invented the delivery ‘Doosra’ (form of leg spin that sends the ball in a left-to-right direction). He took 208 wickets from the 49 tests he played, including three 10 wicket hauls. He was also the inventor of the carrom ball, which is highly used as a surprise delivery in modern cricket.
3. Mushtaq Ahmed
He is often referred as the god of wrist spin. He played a significant role for Pakistan in winning the 1992 World Cup. He took 16 wickets in this World Cup. Mushtaq enjoyed outwitting his opponents and had a googly that Wisden called indiscernible. He also served as the bowling coach of Pakistan. He was pretty successful in ODI cricket.
4. Saeed Ajmal
Ajmal made a relatively late entry into international cricket at the age of 30. He was rated among the best spinners of world cricket in the late 2000s. He was an expert in bowling Doosra and Bamboozled many great batsmen with this terrific delivery. In 2009, Ajmal was suspected of his bowling action, but later on, he passed the test. Ajmal contributed in all three formats of the game.
5. Danish Kaneria
He is the only second Hindu player other than his uncle Anil Dalpat to play for Pakistan. Danish took 261 test wickets which is the most by a Pakistani spinner. An underrated bowler whose career was cut short because of match-fixing charges. He was a right-arm leg spinner known for his well-disguised googly.
6. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi was one of the most lethal spinners Pakistan has ever produced. He was a right-handed leg spinner who played for more than 20 years for Pakistan. Afridi was named player of the tournament in the 2007 T20 World Cup and was also awarded player of the match in the 2009 T20 World Cup Final. He also has a record for bowling the fastest ball by a spinner.
7. Intikhab Alam
He was a Pakistani cricket coach and former cricketer who represented Pakistan in 47 test matches and 4 ODI between 1959-1977. He was also Pakistan’s first ODI Captain. He was also the manager of the Pakistan 1992 World Cup team. He was a defensive leg spinner with a flattish leg break which he used as a stock delivery. His leading wicket-taking ball was a flipper which kept low and skidded, often confusing the batsman with speed.
8. Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah is the joint-second fastest bowler to take 100 wickets, and also the fastest to pick up 200 wickets. He took 235 test wickets with a strike rate of 57.87 in his career. He is referred as Shane Warne of Asia. He made his arrival in the Pakistan team in place of Saeed Ajmal(who got banned for chucking in 2014), and he grabbed this opportunity with both hands and took 12 wickets on his debut against Australia.
9. Mohammad Hafeez
Hafeez is a former Pakistani International cricketer who was an offspinner and a versatile batsman who could bat at any position. He is nicknamed ‘Professor’ in International cricket. He took over 250 wickets across all formats. Hafeez was crucial against left-handers with his bowling as he used to ball off-break(turns away from the batsman).
10. Iqbal Qasim
Iqbal Qaim is a former Pakistan bowler who played for Pakistan in 50 tests and 15 ODI in the early 80s. He was a slow left-arm orthodox bowler, who tested batsman with higher speed and different low-trajectory variations. He remained in the shadows of his teammate and legendary bowler Abdul Qadir. He was appointed as the chief selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2012.