The nation where the fast bowlers are born to play, Pakistan, has been one of the most dominating bowling forces in the history of the sport. From the likes of Waqar Younis, Imran Khan, and Wasim Akram to the pace batteries of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah, the nation has produced some genuine fast bowlers in the last two or three decades. Not to forget the deadly duo of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir as well. Pakistan has always been one of the most competitive nations in the sport and is very hard to defeat at home. The nation experienced its first and only World Cup glory in 1992 under the leadership of the great Imran Khan. Here, we look at the top 10 wicket-takers for Pakistan in the ODI World Cups.
1. Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram is the leading wicket-taker for the nation in the ODI World Cups. The art of swing and pace was defined by the maestro, Wasim Akram. It seemed as if the ball would swing according to the want of Akram. Such was the control of the great left-arm fast bowler over the ball. Not just in red-ball cricket, the bowler mastered the art of reverse swing in the ODIs as well. His deadly bowling during the back end of the innings made him one of the best death-over bowlers in the world. Akram made his ODI debut against New Zealand in 1984 and established himself as a young bowling sensation. He picked up 55 wickets for Pakistan in World Cups after playing 38 matches.
2. Wahab Riaz
Wahab Riaz was a former left-arm fast bowler for Pakistan across formats. His ability to swing the ball with a decent pace provided him with a lot of breakthroughs. Wahab made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 2008. A left-arm seamer always holds an extra advantage in the team. Riaz made full use of his opportunities and performed consistently for Pakistan. No Pakistan fan could forget his spell against Australia in the quarter-final of the 2015 ODI World Cup. Although Pakistan lost the match, Wahab’s deadly bouncers to Shane Watson followed by continuous sledging was something to cheer for the fans. He played 20 World Cup matches and scalped 35 wickets.
3. Imran Khan
Imran Khan is the only skipper to win an ODI World Cup for Pakistan. He achieved this feat in 1992. The right-arm fast bowler and a hard-hitting right-handed batter down the order, Imran Khan, was among the greatest all-rounders in Pakistan. He made his ODI debut against England in 1974 at the Trent Bridge. His leadership defined hard work and resilience. Imran played 28 matches in the ODI World Cups and took 34 wickets with the best figures of 4/37. After gifting his nation, the World Cup, the legendary cricketer retired in 1992.
4. Shoaib Akhtar
The fastest bowler to play the sport, Shoaib Akhtar, was a former right-handed fast bowler for Pakistan. His body build quite signified the way he bowled. The tall muscular fellow with long hair steaming in with a fine rhythmic run-up and releasing the ball with the sheer power of the shoulders, Akhtar, dismantled many batters with his fast-paced bowling. He made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 1998 and made himself a regular inclusion in the squad. The bowler was also a part of Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008. Akhtar played 19 World Cup matches and picked up 30 wickets.
5. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi was a former bowling all-rounder for Pakistan. The player was one of the best leg-spinners in the history of the game. His variations were something batters would find difficult to pick. He was also a handy batter down the order and could hit big sixes with ease. The all-rounder made his ODI debut against Kenya in 1996. Also, a former skipper of the nation, Afridi was a very tactical leader whose leadership was inspirational to many. The leg-spinner took 30 wickets in 27 World Cup matches with the best figures of 5/16.
6. Shaheen Afridi
The fast bowler from Pakistan is one of the greatest left-arm pacers in modern-day cricket. His in-swinging deliveries to the right-handed batters have always created trouble for the opposition. An equally good death bowler as well, Shaheen made his ODI debut against Afghanistan in 2018. He impressed the selectors in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup and earned himself an international call-up. The left-arm pacer is the leader of the Pakistan bowling attack and is among the top wicket-takers in the ongoing CWC. He has scalped 29 wickets in the 11 games he has played for Pakistan in the ODI World Cups.
7. Mushtaq Ahmed
Mushtaq Ahmed was a former leg-break bowler and a right-handed batter for Pakistan. Although his main role was batting, he chipped in with few and sometimes full ten overs in the ODI format. He made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 1989. After playing 15 games for Pakistan in ODI World Cups, Mushtaq picked up 26 wickets.
8. Abdul Qadir
The right-handed batter and a right-arm leg-break bowler was one of the finest leg-spinners in the game. His unimaginable range of variations allowed him to bamboozle any batter. he made his ODI debut against New Zealand in 1983 and redefined the art of spin bowling. In thirteen World Cup games, the bowler scalped 24 wickets for Pakistan.
9. Saqlain Mushtaq
One of the finest off-break bowlers, Saqlain Mushtaq, just went through the batter’s defense more often than not. A very capable batter as well, Mushtaq made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 1995. He played fourteen World Cup games from 1996 to 2003 and picked up 23 wickets with the best figures of 5/35.
10. Waqar Younis
The deadly duo of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram was known to many. His great control over the ball was one of the key highlights of his bowling. A genuine wicket-taker, Waqar made his ODI debut against the West Indies in 1989. In the ODI World Cups, the right-arm fast bowler played thirteen games and scalped 22 wickets.