Pakistan has a rich history of producing top-notch spin bowlers in cricket. Typically. they have always been a nation that has produced top-tier fast bowlers in their history. However, as the years progressed, spin talents emerged over time, who played a crucial role in adding an extra cushion to the team’s bowling department. With a combination of pace and spin, Pakistan largely benefitted from the bowlers.
However, the fast bowlers have made a telling impact with the ball, more often than not. Despite the fact that the pacers dominated the game, the spinners too had their say and rose to the occasion with significant performances. Pakistan were indeed blessed with terrific talents in the spin bowling department and let’s take a glance at the 10 finest Pakistani spinners of all time.
10. Mohammad Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez was one of the most productive players for Pakistan. He operated as a versatile batter who could play anywhere in the top and middle order. Besides that, he was pretty decent as a spinner wherein he took 53 wickets in Tests, 139 wickets in ODIs and 61 wickets in T20Is. Along with Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi, Hafeez formed part of one of the best spin bowling attacks in the 2010s.
9. Iqbal Qasim
Iqbal Qasim is best remembered for steering Pakistan to victory in the fifth Test match in Bengaluru during the 1987 India-Pakistan series, which was Pakistan’s first-ever Test series win on Indian soil, courtesy of his magnificent 9/121. He is best known for tricking the batsmen through variations in ‘pace and trajectory’. He took 171 wickets in Tests including 8 fifers and bagged 12 wickets in 15 ODIs.
8. Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah was one of those rare talents who made an immediate impact with the ball. He became the fastest to take 200 Test wickets, having shattered the 82-year-old record held by former Australian bowler Clarrie Grimmett. The premier leg-spinner, who is best known for turning the ball sharply has accounted for 244 dismissals in Tests including 16 fifers whereas he took 24 wickets in ODIs including 1 fifer.
7. Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam represented the Pakistan cricket team in 47 Tests and 4 ODIs from 1959 to 1977. Besides that, he also led the team from the front in as many as 17 Tests between 1969 and 1975. He was one of the top performers for Pakistan in Test cricket. Notably, he took 125 wickets in 47 appearances, including 5 five-wicket hauls. On the other hand, he took four wickets in the 50-over format.
6. Danish Kaneria
Danish Kaneria has been one of the finest spinners in the history of Pakistan cricket. He operated as a right-arm leg spinner who could deceive the batsmen with googlies. He took as many as 261 wickets, which is the most by a Pakistani spinner in Test cricket. Notably, he took 15 fifers and 2 ten-wicket hauls to his credit. However, he didn’t get excel in ODIs wherein he took 15 wickets in 18 appearances.
5. Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal might have announced his arrival late in the sport at the age of 30 but he delivered the goods when it mattered the most. Known for his lethal off-spin, he had a barrage of tricks under his sleeve and thrived as an all-format spinner for Pakistan. He took 178 wickets in Tests including 10 fifers and 4 ten-wicket hauls, 184 wickets in 113 ODIs including 2 fifers and 85 wickets in 64 T20Is.
4. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi has been the best all-rounder in the history of Pakistan cricket. Apart from his batting credentials, he has been a potent spin weapon for his country and he brought the best out of himself in ODIs. He took 395 wickets including 9 fifers in 398 ODIs, which is the most by any spinner from Pakistan. The former leg-spinner took 48 wickets in 27 Tests including 1 fifer and 98 wickets in 99 T20Is.
3. Mushtaq Ahmed
Mushtaq Ahmed operated as a leg-break googly bowler for Pakistan. When he was in his prime, he was labelled as one of the top three wrist spinners in the sport. Known for his terrific control and variations, Mushtaq Ahmed played a significant role in Pakistan’s success in the 1990s. He took 185 wickets in 52 Tests including 10 fifers and 3 ten-wicket hauls. Mushtaq took 161 wickets in 144 ODIs including 1 fifer.
2. Saqlain Mushtaq
Saqlain Mushtaq is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Pakistani spinners of all time. He is best known for inventing the doosra, which is a leg-break delivery bowled with an off-break action, meaning that the ball would spin away from right-handed batsmen. Saqlain Mushtaq took 208 wickets in 49 Tests including 13 fifers and 3 ten-wicket hauls. He took 288 wickets in 169 ODIs including 6 fifers.
1. Abdul Qadir
Abdul Qadir was cut above the rest of the spinners of Pakistan during his playing days. He is immensely regarded as a legendary leg spinner from the 1970s and 1980s. What really set him apart was his impeccable ability to deceive the batsmen with his deceptive leg-breaks and googlies. He took 236 wickets in 67 Tests including 15 fifers and 5 ten-wicket hauls and 133 wickets in 104 ODIs including 2 fifers.
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