While Pakistan have always been renowned for relentlessly churning out pacers with express speed and incredible accuracy, they have also produced a few world-class batsmen over the years.
Their bowling unit has for decades been the driving force behind their success and plenty have made a huge impact on the world stage. However, a handful of the nation’s finest batsman have also etched their names in the sport’s history books.
Unlike neighbours India, Pakistan hasn’t produced batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who are renowned for their ton-scoring ability, but they have had a few who have hit a respectable number of centuries in One-Day International cricket. Below we take a look at five Pakistan batsmen with most centuries in ODIs.
Saeed Anwar – 20 centuries
A superstar for the Pakistan team during the nineties, batsman Saeed Anwar leads the way for Pakistan in ODI centuries with 20.
Pakistan’s third-highest run-getter in ODIs with 8824 runs played 247 times for his country and finished his career with a respectable average of 39.21 and a good strike rate of 80.67.
Anwar, who was Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1997, scored 194 in a match against India at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai that very year, which was the highest individual score in ODIs till Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry equalled it in 2009 against Bangladesh and Sachin Tendulkar surpassed it with an unbeaten 200 against South Africa in 2011.
Mohammad Yousuf – 15 centuries
If the nineties belonged to Anwar, the 2000s were Mohammad Yousuf’s.
The player, formerly named Yousuf Youhana, was Pakistan’s most consistent batsman throughout the 2000s, playing 281 games for his country and scoring 9554 runs in his 12-year stint with the national team.
Yousuf scored his runs at a tremendous average of 42.08, which is bettered only by Zaheer Abbas (47.62) and current ODI and T20I captain Babar Azam (54.17).
Babar Azam – 11 centuries
Speaking of Azam, the 25-year-old is the best batsman Pakistan has produced in the better part of a couple of decades, and his numbers in ODI cricket are comparable only to the greats of the format.
The skipper has scored 3359 runs in just 72 outings with the bat at a ridiculous average of 54.17, which is currently only bettered by Virat Kohli’s 59.33 in ODI history.
Azam’s consistency and ability have made some of cricket’s keenest observers sound for his inclusion in the current ‘Fab Four’ of batting, which includes Australia’s Steve Smith, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, England’s Joe Root, and Kohli.
Mohammad Hafeez – 11 centuries
In and out of the team since his debut in 2003, Mohammad Hafeez has been an enigmatic figure in Pakistan cricket, but his ability is unquestionable, proven by his track record in all three formats.
In ODIs, Hafeez has scored 6614 runs in 216 outings for Pakistan at a passable average of 32.90. Despite his career strike being only 76.61 in ODIs, Hafeez has proven he can adjust his game to the requirements of modern-day cricket by winning the Man of the Series award in the recently concluded T20I series against England.
Ijaz Ahmed and Inzaman Ul-Haq – 10 centuries
Tied at 10 are two iconic Pakistani cricketers – Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Ahmed played 250 matches for Pakistan and scored 6564 runs at an average of 32.33 and a strike rate of 80.30. Inzamam, Pakistan’s highest run-scorer with 11,701 runs, played 375 matches for Pakistan, second-most behind Shahid Afridi’s record of 393.
Both players were part of Pakistan’s triumphant 1992 ICC World Cup squad.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Martin Hayhow