Cricket is undoubtedly the most beloved sport in Pakistan. It is not only a game but a passion that runs deep in the veins of every Pakistani. The country has produced some of the finest cricketers in the world, bringing pride to their nation with their exceptional skills and dedication. But even the best of journeys come to an end. Players retire from their favorite sport due to growing age, injury concerns, controversies, or poor form. Generally, this retirement is a very emotional event, and the fans think that they will not be able to see their favorite cricketer in action again. But today, we will look at those Pakistani cricketers who came back from their retirement to prove their worth once again.
1. Imran Khan
Pakistan’s superstar all-rounder Imran Khan quit international cricket after the 1987 World Cup, at the age of 35. However, within a year, fans began demanding the return of their hero, and the PCB sent out a formal request which he declined. Fans were upset, but on the special request of the then president of Pakistan, General Zia Ul Haq, Imran finally agreed to return to the field again. As it turned out, five years later, he had led Pakistan to the World Cup title in one of the sport’s most incredible success stories. He happily retired with the glittering trophy in his arms.
2. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi is a name that is synonymous with Pakistani cricket. Afridi's explosive batting and exceptional bowling have been a vital asset for the Pakistani team over the years. The Pakistani cricketer has come out of retirement multiple times. He did it for the first time in 2006. He announced his retirement from Tests but returned in 2010 only to captain the side. Again, he announced his retirement from ODIs after the 2011 World Cup following conflicts with the PCB. By the end of the year, however, Afridi settled the matter with PCB and was back in the squad for the 2015 World Cup. Afridi officially announced his ultimate retirement from international cricket in 2018.
3. Javed Miandad
Mohammad Javed Miandad, popularly known as Javed Miandad, is known for his unconventional style of captaincy and batting. He announced his retirement in 1994 after being overlooked by selectors. Merely ten days after announcing his retirement, he came back to international cricket. This resulted from a serious conversation with the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.
Misbah-ul-Haq is a name that needs no introduction in the world of cricket. He made his international debut for Pakistan in 2001 and played his last match in 2017. However, he came out of retirement in 2019 to participate in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Misbah was appointed as the head coach and chief selector of the Pakistan cricket team in 2019 and has been instrumental in the team's recent success.
5. Mohammad Amir
Mohammad Amir is a former Pakistani fast bowler considered one of the most talented young cricketers in the world. However, his career was flawed by controversies, including a spot-fixing scandal that ultimately led to his retirement from international cricket in 2020. In a statement, Amir cited his frustration with the current management of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and his desire to play in T20 leagues worldwide as reasons for his retirement. He expressed disappointment with the lack of support and opportunities he received from the PCB and said that he felt that his career had been stifled. However, in 2021 he stated that he would be open to a recall if the management left. This leaves us with an ongoing saga in the Mohammad Amir story.
6. Wahab Riaz
Wahab Riaz played 27 Tests from 2010 to 2018 before retiring from red-ball cricket aged 34, leaving Pakistan with a relatively inexperienced bowling attack. But he made a U-turn two years later, stating that he was ready to play Test cricket.
7. Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik is one of the most experienced Pakistani cricketers, having played for over two decades. He retired from Test cricket in 2015 and ODI cricket in 2019 but made a comeback in the T20 format. Malik played a significant role in Pakistan's T20 World Cup win in 2009 and has continued to perform well in the shorter format of the game.
8. Mohammad Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez is another cricketer who made a successful comeback to the sport after retiring. He announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2018 but continued to play in limited-overs cricket. However, he decided to retire from all forms of international cricket in 2020 but made a comeback in 2021 to play in the T20 World Cup. Hafeez's experience and skills were vital for the Pakistani team, and he played a crucial role in their campaign.
9. Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal is a former Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman who announced his retirement from international cricket in 2017. However, he returned to the sport in 2021 to play in the PSL. Akmal has been a consistent performer in the T20 format and one of the leading run-scorers in the PSL.
10. Umar Akmal
Umar Akmal is a former Pakistani cricketer with a promising career but was plagued by controversy and disciplinary issues. In February 2020, the PCB banned him from all forms of cricket for three years for breaching its Anti-Corruption Code. In response to the ban, Akmal announced his retirement from cricket, citing the injustice of the PCB's decision. He said that he did not get a fair trial and that he was punished without being given a chance to defend himself. However, as per the latest developments, he is currently trying to make a comeback to the game.