The 5 Greatest Pakistani Spinners of All Time

Pakistan has a long history of producing top-quality fast bowlers. Ever since, the opposition batters have faced pacers who came steaming in with the ball in their hands.

However, their spinners also formed reliable partnerships with their pacers to trouble the batters. Over the years, the country has had the services of some of the best spinners who rose through the ranks.

So, in this article, we’ll look at the 5 greatest Pakistani spinners of all time.

1. Abdul Qadir

If there was someone who excelled at bowling top-notch leg spin, then it was Abdul Qadir who mastered it to the core. Qadir was the flagbearer of wrist spinners who kept the art of leg-spin alive during his playing days.

He was so proficient with the ball that he had 6 different leg spin variations under his sleeve. He bowled googlies and flippers with impeccable accuracy, catching the batters unaware.

In his 16-year career, Qadir grabbed 368 wickets for Pakistan in Tests and ODIs combined. The wicket tally may not be huge, but he created a larger impact, with the likes of Shane Warne and Anil Kumble idolising him.

2. Saqlain Mushtaq

If you have heard of the ‘Doosra ball’, then it’s Saqlain Mushtaq who introduced the world to this delivery. Saqlain was the master of Doosra, often leaving batters flummoxed.

The off-spinner had remarkable control over the ball, helping him garner close to 500 wickets (496) across Tests and ODIs. His international exploits also helped him bag a contract in the County Championship, where he succeeded to a great extent.

3. Mushtaq Ahmed

Pakistan found an able replacement for the legendary Abdul Qadir in leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed. Mushtaq considered Qadir his role model and had many leg spin variations in his armoury as Qadir did.

He was a proven match-winner, which was on display with his contribution to Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup victory. The leggie picked up 346 wickets in 196 international appearances.

Also Read | Wrist Spin vs Finger Spin: The Art of Spin Bowling

4. Saeed Ajmal

Another prolific exponent of Doosra, Saeed Ajmal, came to the party pretty late, as he made his international debut at the age of 30. However, that didn’t stop him from showing his mettle on the grand stage.

Ajmal was one of the most lethal spinners in his heydays, troubling the batters with his subtle variations. His off-spin helped him bag 447 wickets across 3 formats. And if not for his issues with the suspect bowling action, he would have gone on to grab plenty.

5. Danish Kaneria

You get a clear idea of how good Danish Kaneria was for Pakistan in the red ball format by looking at his wicket tally. The leg spinner was so sublime that he went past the likes of Abdul Qadir, Saqlain Mushtaq, and Mushtaq Ahmed.

Kaneria left batters confused with his well-disguised googlies, which he used as a surprise weapon. However, he couldn’t transfer this magic to the ODI format in whatever little chances he got. Nevertheless, Kaneria had an impeccable Test career, scalping 261 wickets.

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