Pakistan is blessed with pace bowlers.
Winning a Test match for any team is, of course, no less than a great honour.
Although batsmen play an important role in Test victories, it is the bowlers who take 20 wickets to lead the team to victory.
I am going to recall a few of these spells from Pakistani bowlers.
This was in 1954 when the national team toured England to play a series of four Test matches.
Fazal Mahmood bowled 60 overs in this match and took 12 wickets for 99 runs. If they awarded man of the match honours back then, only Fazal Mahmood could have got this honour.
It was a memorable spell of fast bowling that introduced Pakistan cricket to the world in an explosive manner.
The tour of Australia has never been easy for the Pakistan team. The first Test of the 1979 series was played in Melbourne, where the Pakistani team, which had won the toss and elected to bat first, was bowled out for just 196.
But Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz and Wasim Raja bowled so well that the entire Australian team was bowled out for 168. In this innings, Imran Khan took four wickets while Sarfraz Nawaz and Wasim Raja took two wickets each.
After the second innings, Australia were set a big target of 382 runs to win the match. Australia’s score was 3-305. Only 77 runs were needed to win and it seemed that the batsmen would easily achieve the target.
Sarfraz Nawaz now produced a memorable spell, as a result of which Australia’s next six wickets fell for just five runs.
Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis
The duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis was no less than a blessing for Pakistan cricket. Both are now settled in Australia.
The national team arrived in New Zealand in early 1993 for a Test. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were at their peak performance, but Wasim Akram’s spell in this series was memorable.
Both Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis took five wickets each in this innings. Waqar Younis took nine wickets in the match, but the jury thought that the eight wickets taken by Wasim Akram were more important so he was awarded the title of man of the match.
In 1999, Pakistan played a crucial Test against India in Chennai.
In this match, Saqlain Mushtaq turned the match around with his superb bowling against India.
Mushtaq had a memorable spell, which played a major role in this victory. But the man of the match award was still given to Sachin Tendulkar.
Shoaib Akhtar has always been a bowler who was capable of turning the tide of a match in just a few balls.
The best examples are the Sharjah ODI against South Africa and the Calcutta Test against India. The New Zealand team can be called Shoaib Akhtar’s favourite opposition.
In the Wellington Test in 2003, New Zealand had a 170-run lead in the first innings, so their position was very strong.
But on the fourth day, the remaining eight New Zealand players were dismissed for the next 30 runs and the entire team was reduced to 103 runs.
The highlight of this innings was the devastating bowling of Shoaib Akhtar, who took six wickets for just 30 runs.