The country has produced some prolific batters who have scored heavily in all formats of the game. It’s time to take a look at the greatest batsmen in the history of Pakistan cricket.
Who is the Best Batsman in Pakistan?
While there is some debate, the popular theory is that Javed Miandad is the best batsman that Pakistan have produced. He played in 124 test matches and 233 One Day Internationals, scoring over 16,000 international runs.
Others may have scored more, but Javed’s exceptional averages add to the argument that he was Pakistan’s greatest ever batter.
12 Best Pakistan Batsmen of All Time
His prolific run scoring in test matches and ODI’s put him high up in the list of Pakistan’s leading run scorers. Javed Miandad made 8832 runs in red ball international cricket, and he’s second only to Younis Khan on the test match list.
In ODIs, Javed made 7381 runs from 238 innings with eight centuries and a best of 119. His average of 41.70 is exceptional in this format, and is one of the reasons why Javed Miandad just edges out the chasing pack to make it to the top of this list.
When compiling this list, it was a close call at the top between Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq. The final decision may well have gone Inzy’s way, considering that he has scored so heavily in One Day Internationals for Pakistan.
In fact, he is his country’s leading run scorer in this format by some distance. Inzamam’s total of 11,701 runs includes 10 centuries and is over 2000 runs more than the man in second place.
A key factor for a top batsman is to be versatile. Inzamam-ul-Haq could play those faster one-day innings, and he could accumulate heavily in the red ball game too. Inzy made 8829 test runs with 25 centuries and a highest score of 329.
As I write this round up in early 2023, Babar Azam is the captain of Pakistan in all three formats. He’s also the team’s most important batter and he is riding high in the respective ICC rankings.
Babar’s statistics are exceptional and he’s quickly become the leading run scorer for Pakistan in T20 internationals. He has over 3,000 runs in this format, together with another 3696 in tests and 4813 in ODIs.
He has some way to go to catch the men at the top of the test and ODI lists, but he has excellent averages and strike rates and, from the current crop of players, he’s the man most likely to go on and become Pakistan’s best ever batter.
Many would think of Misbah-ul-Haq as a test specialist, but he was another batter who could adapt to all formats. Over a long career lasting from 2001 to 2017, he scored over 10,000 international runs, and the majority of those were fairly evenly distributed between tests and ODIs.
He was hard to dismiss once he was set and Misbah liked to go on and make big scores. His ten test centuries with a best of 161 are a testament to that. He will largely be remembered for leading the team at a difficult time, but Misbah-ul-Haq certainly made his contributions with the bat.
Behind Inzaman-ul-Haq at the top of Pakistan’s ODI run scoring charts, Mohammad Yousuf sits in second place. In 281 matches in this format between 1998 and 2010, Yousuf hit 9554 runs with 15 centuries and a best of 141.
He has exceptional statistics in test cricket too and is another player who might just have been considered as his country’s best ever batsman. In 90 test matches, he scored 7530 runs with 24 hundreds and a highest score of 223. Those are exceptional numbers and Mohammad Yousuf helped to form a strong batting line for Pakistan in the 2000s.
When I was growing up and watching cricket, I remember Zaheer Abbas as being a great batsman in the Pakistan side. He was so difficult to dismiss and he would score prolifically in test matches.
Zaheer played in 78 tests between 1969 and 1985. He scored 5062 runs with 12 centuries and a top score of 274. He also made a mark in the early days of ODI cricket, making seven tons in this format and finishing with an excellent average of 47.62.
He’s one of my favourite cricketers from Pakistan and Zaheer Abbas is also one of a select group of players to have reached 100 first class centuries.
Disciplinary issues mean that Ahmed Shehzad may never fulfill his true destiny, but he remains as one of the most talented batters to have come out of Pakistan. As of 2023, it’s been almost four years since his last international appearance and time may be running out to add to that list of caps.
He is an attacking batter and that attacking mindset is used in all forms of the game. In just 13 test matches, he made seven scores above 50, including three hundreds and a top score of 176. Ahmed Shehzad was used more in limited overs cricket and he has a rare century in a T20 international.
He may remain as an unfulfilled player and his inclusion on this list is open for debate, but there is no doubt that Ahmed Shehzad possesses immense batting talent.
This is where the debate rages once again. As the leading run scorer for Pakistan in test matches, was Younis Khan the best batsman that Pakistan has ever produced?
Not only is he in front at the top of that test list, Younis leads the way by a clear margin. In 118 red ball matches for his country, he scored 10099 runs and is the only Pakistani batter to have reached that 10,000 mark to date.
That tally included no fewer than 34 hundreds and a highest score of 313. Younis Khan also performed well in ODIs with 7249 runs in 265 games. He may have missed out on the top spot here, but we can be certain that Younis was one of the best batters in world cricket, not just in Pakistan.
He was Pakistan’s first great international batsman and he was a prolific run scorer in test and first class matches. Hanif Mohammad’s highest international score of 337, made against the West Indies at Bridgetown in 1958, remains a national record to this day.
Hanif also made an incredible 499 in a first class game for Karachi against Bahawalpur in 1959, and this was a record that stood for over 35 years. In total, Hanif Mohammad scored more than 20,000 first class runs. 3915 of those came for Pakistan with 12 centuries and an average of 43.98.
In an era when teams played fewer test matches, Hanif played 55 times for Pakistan and those are exceptional statistics.
Another player who will feel that he should have achieved more in the game is Aamer Sohail. He has some respectable international statistics, but was sometimes a little too aggressive in his approach.
His highest international score of 205, came against England at Old Trafford in his third test match. He didn’t quite reach that level again, but Aamer Sohail still made 16 scores over 50 in 47 tests.
His style of play could be more suited to limited overs cricket where he played in 156 ODIs. In this format, Aamer Sohail scored 4780 runs with five centuries and a top score of 134.
There should be no doubts over Majid Khan’s inclusion on this list. At his peak, he was considered to be one of the best batsmen in world cricket, not just in Pakistan. He was a very elegant player and the drive and the hook were his most productive shots.
In an era when fewer international games were played, Majid featured in 63 test matches for Pakistan. He scored eight hundreds with a best of 167. In the early days of international limited overs cricket, Majid Khan added 786 runs from 22 ODI innings.
A veteran cricketer who is still playing well into his 40s, Shoaib Malik is often seen as a limited overs specialist these days. The fact that he only played in 35 tests for Pakistan tends to back up this theory, and he would have been higher up the list if he had been a more effective multi-format batter.
His statistics remain exceptional. Shoaib scored heavily, making 11,867 runs across the three international formats. He made 12 centuries and his highest score of 245 suggests he should have played in more test matches for Pakistan.
Any of my lists will be open for debate: Some of you may feel that the order is wrong while others will argue over the choice of the best Pakistan batsman. Are there others that could have made the final cut?
The current Pakistan side is in something of a transitional period. They seem to have some excellent young bowlers, both in the spin and pace departments. Batting isn’t as strong and, while there are talented young players, they often seem to rely on the skipper Babar Azam.
That’s how I see things at the moment and, based on that theory, it could be some time before we see any new faces on this list. For now, while the top slot is open to debate, I’m happy that I’ve included all of the very best batsmen that Pakistan has ever produced.