Ever since its inception, Pakistan cricket is known for producing some of the best fast bowlers the game has ever seen. Among Wasim’s magical deliveries, Waqar’s toe crushing Yorkers and Shoaib’s searing pace, there were certain individuals who were equally competent however, they were never quite utilized to their potential, due to injuries, selection issues and other controversies that came in their way. So join us today as we take a look at some of the fast bowlers who weren’t utilized by Pakistan.
- Mohammad Zahid
Hailed as one of the fastest bowlers in the world, Mohammed Zahid is one individual that every longtime Pakistan cricket fan will remember fondly. The man who took eleven wickets on his debut against New Zealand was expected to lead the Pakistani fast bowling attack for the next generation. Unfortunately, what could have been a success story turned out to be just a dream as, very early in his career, Zahid picked up a serious back injury. After his back surgery he became a shell of his former self and was eventually dropped from the team. In an interview, Shoaib Akhtar admitted that Mohammad Zahid was yards quicker than him when he was bowling in 1997. Had Zahid’s work load been managed properly he could have easily been the next in line on the long list of great fast bowlers that Pakistan has produced.
- Mohammed Asif
Mohammed Asif has been widely considered the best new ball bowler that Pakistan has ever produced however; he is also more prone to controversy than any other cricketer in the country. He has been tested positive for steroids twice and he was also caught with a recreational drug at the Dubai airport once. Perhaps the biggest controversy that tarnished Asif’s career was the spot fixing scandal, which resulted in a one year prison sentence and a 5 year ban from the game. All these controversies simply meant that Asif could never quite live up to his potential. While many fans will argue that Asif is himself responsible for wasting his talent, it is important to note that it is the responsibility of PCB to properly council players and protect them from bookies in order to make sure that bookies don’t have access to them. Most of the Pakistani cricketers are uneducated and come from small backgrounds thus, for them these offers are tempting. While Mohammed Asif is responsible for not avoiding controversy, the PCB and the team management is equally responsible for not counseling the players. At the end of the day whoever you consider responsible, it is pretty clear that all these controversies resulted in the loss of a great fast bowler. While Asif’s ban has been lifted and he has shown that he is still a very capable fast bowler, it is very unlikely that he will ever make a return.
- Mohammed Sami
Named the modern day Malcolm Marshall by the former Pakistan captain Imran khan, Mohammed Sami is another fast bowler who in his heyday constantly made it to the list of the fastest bowlers in the world. Sami has always been known for his ability to generate serious pace however, despite being among the fastest bowlers in the world his talent was never quite utilized by Pakistan. He was often dropped from the team after just one bad performance and a lot of times he wasn’t recalled despite consistently taking wickets at the domestic level. While many fans claim that Mohammed Sami is a run leaker, his record of 121 wickets in 87 ODI’s at an average of 29 and an economy rate of 4.99, suggests otherwise. Add to the fact that he has also got a test and an ODI hat-trick to his name and, it becomes pretty clear that Pakistan cricket team has failed to use his skills. His omission from the squad in the England tour also means that it is very unlikely that he will ever make his return to the team despite delivering decent performances in the Asia cup and the World T20.
- Tanvir Ahmed
With over 500 first class wickets to his name along with a debut 6 wicket haul against South Africa, Tanvir Ahmed is another capable fast bowler who never quite established himself in the team due to selection inconsistencies. He first rose to prominence at the domestic circuit during the 2009-2010 season in which he picked up 85 wickets at an average of just 17. He was immediately selected after that for the test series against South Africa and since then has played a total of only 5 matches in which he has picked up 17 wickets. These days he can be seen on TV channels shouting uselessly while analyzing the current state of Pakistan cricket and one begins to wonder whether his loud mouth is the reason why his true talent of fast bowling was wasted.
- Shabbir Ahmed
The joint-fastest Pakistani bowler to 50 Test wickets (with Waqar Younis in 10 Tests), Shabbir Ahmed was far from a conventional Pakistani fast bowler. Standing at 6 feet tall, he had the ability to extract a lot of bounce even on a placid wicket. On top of the bounce he was also very accurate and had the ability to generate decent pace. Despite, these gifts however, he was reported for an illegal bowling action and was subsequently banned for one year after the ensuing investigation. In the meantime he was upstaged by other younger fast bowlers thus; even after his return, he could never regain his spot in the team.
At the end of the day all the fast bowlers mentioned in this list were extremely talented and if they had been used properly they could have lifted Pakistan to new heights. Which of the mentioned fast bowler is your favorite? Leave your opinion in the comments below plus, also mention some of the fast bowlers that you feel were wasted by Pakistan.