‘Pakistan cricket at its best, one minute down, next minute up’
Nasser Hussain’s words in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India pretty much sum up Pakistan cricket. In that game, the Men in Green made amends after Azhar Ali dropped Virat Kohli in the slip cordon. Later Shadab Khan made sure that the dropped chance didn’t cost the team a single run.
Pakistan cricket has been bizarre and obnoxious, sometimes in a delightful way sometimes in a disappointing way. Even as they have shown signs of imploding plenty of times, they have pulled rabbits of the hats from nowhere to put pressure on the opposition.
One can’t afford to take a backseat when Pakistan are plying their trade at the international level. While as a team they have furrowed eyebrows, some individual facts and figures also show the mysteriously unpredictable nature of their cricket. And they keep surfacing from time to time.
In the article, let’s take a look at five Pakistan cricket facts that are surprisingly true
1. Shahid Afridi used Sachin’s bat to score the then fastest ODI hundred
Back in 1996, Shahid Afridi amassed the then fastest ODI century off a mere 37 balls against Sri Lanka in Nairobi. The record remained intact for as many as 18 years until Corey Anderson broke it against the West Indies in 2014.
The New Zealander’s record lasted for around a year after which South Africa’s AB de Villiers went to the top with a ton at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. As far as Afridi is concerned, later it was learned that he scored the century with Sachin Tendulkar’s bat.
It was a piece of willow, which was gifted to Waqar Younis by the Master Blaster. Pakistan won the game by 82 runs at the Gymkhana Club Ground. Afridi also got the Player of the Match award and he remains as the youngest centurion in ODI cricket at the age of 16 years and 217 days.
2. Wasim Akram has a higher best Test individual score than Sachin Tendulkar
With 916 scalps, Wasim Akram remains Pakistan’s leading all-time wicket-taker across formats. But the fact that he was a handy lower-order batter can’t be undermined. In fact, the southpaw has the highest Test score greater than that of Tendulkar.
The Master Blaster notched his highest Test total of an unbeaten 248 against Habibul Bashar’s Bangladesh in 2004 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. Akram, on the other hand, got his highest Test score of an unbeaten 257 against Zimbabwe back in 1996.
At the Sheikhupura Stadium, Akram got the Player of the Match award for his batting. At number eight, he played at a strike rate of 70.79 and his knock was laced with 22 fours and 12 sixes. Overall, Akram has three centuries and 13 half-centuries combining 460 international matches.
3. Shoaib Malik batting at 10 different positions in ODIs
Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan batter, is nearing 40, but he remains a crucial member of the T20I team after retiring from Tests and ODIs. In the 50-overs format, the right-hander has tasted the most success. In 287 ODIs, the veteran has notched 7534 runs at an average and strike rate of 34.55 and 81.90 respectively.
In fact, 44 out of 60 half-centuries at the highest level have come in the one-day format itself. However, in ODI cricket, Malik has batted in 10 different positions after making his debut in 1999. At the start of his career, he batted at number 10.
But as his journey progressed, number four and five became his regular slots. At number five, Malik scored 2349 runs, the most he has scored at any position. However, the veteran has three centuries each while batting at number three and four.
4. Despite being the number 1 ODI bowler, Saeed Ajmal never won a POTM award
Saeed Ajmal was a tough nut to crack for a chunk of his career. Apart from picking up wickets at regular intervals, the off-spinner didn’t allow the batters to get away as he bowled at an economy rate of 4.18. In 113 ODIs, the tweaker picked up 184 wickets with six four-wicket hauls and a couple of fifers to show for his efforts.
In 2013, he also picked up the most wickets in a calendar year in ODIs. However, despite his exceptional shows with the ball in hand, Ajmal failed to get a single Player of the Match award. Even the five-wicket hauls couldn’t fetch a single laurel for him.
After making his ODI debut in 2008, his career came to an end in 2015. The now 43-year-old had to remodel his action a number of times due to which his skills became limited. Overall, he picked 447 wickets at the highest level.
5. Inzamam-ul-Haq picking up a wicket off his first ball in international cricket
Inzamam-ul-Haq had notched over 20,000 runs for Pakistan and also captained the national team with dignity. With 35 tons and 129 half-centuries to show for his efforts at the highest level, Inzamam remains a legend in their cricket.
In the meantime, it’s also pertinent to note that he picked 68 wickets, combining first-class and List A cricket in a career that started from 1985-86 and ended in 2007. He also picked three wickets in ODI cricket from 378 matches. In fact, he got a wicket with his very first ball in international cricket.
Back in November 1991, Inzamam, who bowls left-arm spin, picked up the crucial wicket of Brian Lara. The West Indies legend was batting on 45 when he edged Haq to keeper Moin Khan. Sri Lanka’s Pramodya Wickramasinghe and Bangladesh’s Enamul Haque are the other two wickets for Inzamam.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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