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Top 43 Pakistan Fast Bowlers List (The Complete Guide) | Greatest Pakistani Fast Bowlers of All Time (Updated 2023)

The list of Pakistan fast bowlers continues to grow—Shaheen Shaha Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf have been ripping apart batting line ups all year.

Join us as we explore the mesmerizing realm of Pakistani fast bowlers – where passion meets skill and legends are born. Who are the greatest? The unluckiest? Who took the most wickets?

Let’s dive straight in.

Table of Contents

By the Numbers: Which Pakistani Fast Bowlers Have Taken the Most Wickets Across Formats?

The land of Pakistan is a factory that unearths gem of fast bowlers year in and year out.

Wasim Akram (916), Waqar Younis (789), Imran Khan (544), Shoaib Akhtar (438), and Umar Gul (427) are the Top 5 wicket-takers in Pakistan cricket history across formats.

Here is the complete list of the most wickets by Pakistani fast bowlers or medium pacers – all formats combined (Test/ODI, T20Is).

Most Wickets by Pakistan Fast Bowlers

Wasim Akram916
Waqar Younis789
Imran Khan544
Shoaib Akhtar438
Umar Gul427
Abdul Razzaq388
Mohammad Amir259
Shaheen Shah Afridi253
Sarfraz Nawaz240
Wahab Riaz237
Aaqib Javed236
Hasan Ali229
Mohammad Sami227
Junaid Khan189
Mudassar Nazar177
Azhar Mahmood162
Mohammad Asif160
Fazal Mahmood139
Haris Rauf137
Sohail Tanvir130
Mohammad Irfan109
Sikander Bakht100
Naseem Shah98
Mohammad Abbas91
Faheem Ashraf86
Shabbir Ahmed84
Azeem Hafeez78
Rao Iftikhar Anjum78
Rahat Ali76
Saleem Jaffar76
Asif Iqbal69
Mahmood Hussain68
Tahir Naqqash68
Mohamad Wasim Jr.61
Shahid Nazir55
Khan Mohammad54
Aizaz Cheema51
Saleem Altaf51
Sohail Khan51
Usman Shinwari48

Others: Asif Masood (43), Manzoor Elahi (36), Mohammad Akram (36), Anwar Ali (28), Yasir Arafat (29), Imran Khan (29), Rashid Khan (28), Jalal-ud-Din (25), Mohammad Zahid (25), Rumman Raees (22), Kabir Khan (21), Mohammad Farooq (21), Bilawal Bhatti (17)

Also Read:

Top 35 List of Greatest Pakistan Fast Bowlers (Ranked)

Some aspects we considered while ranking these bowlers were (1) longevity, (2) Test match impact, (3) World Cup heroics, (4) other international match-winning performances, and (5) pace/talent/swing.

The New Generation: Up and Coming Pakistani Fast Bowlers

First up, we begin with the youth of Pakistan. These youngsters will inevitably rise up the list in the future, but for now, we are putting them here.

*Note: Youngsters like Shaheen Shah Afridi & Naseem Shah are further down below since they have already taken more than 100 international wickets in their short careers.

43. Mir Hamza – 2 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2018-
  • Matches: 3 (Tests)
  • Wickets (Test): 2
  • Best Figures in Innings: 1/38 (Test)
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42. Zaman Khan – 4 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2003-
  • Matches: 6 (T20Is)
  • Wickets (T20I): 4
  • Best Figures in Innings: 1/7
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41. Ihsanullah – 6 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2023-
  • Marches: 1 (ODI), 4 (T20I)
  • Wickets (ODI/T20Is): 0/6
  • Best Figures in Innings: 3/29 (T20I)
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40. Shahnawaz Dahani – 9 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2021-
  • Matches: 2 (ODI), 11 (T20I)
  • Wickets (ODI/T20Is): 1/8
  • Best Figures in Innings: 1/36 (ODI), 2/37 (T20I)
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39. Muhammad Hasnain – 37 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2019-
  • Matches: 9 (ODI), 27 (T20I)
  • Wickets (ODI/T20Is): 12/25
  • Best Figures in Innings: 12 (ODI), 25 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 0/1 (ODI)
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38. Mohammad Wasim Jr. – 61 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2021-
  • Matches: 2 (Test), 15 (ODI), 35 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 2/24/35
  • Best Figures in Innings: 1/71 (Test), 4/36 (ODI), 4/24 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 1/0 (ODI), 2/0 (T20I)
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Pakistan Fast Bowlers with Short International Careers: The Ones That Impressed but Could Not Capitalize

37. Ehsan Adil – 9 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2013-15
  • Matches: 3 (Test), 6 (ODI)
  • Wickets (ODI/T20Is): 5/4
  • Best Figures in Innings: 2/54 (Test), 1/31 (ODI)
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36. Rumman Raees – 22 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2016-2018
  • Matches: 9 (ODI), 8 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 14/8
  • Best Figures in Innings: 3/49 (ODI), 2/24 (T20I)
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35. Yasir Arafat – 29 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2000-2012
  • Matches: 3 (Test), 11 (ODI), 13 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20I): 9/4/16
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/161 (Test), 1/28 (ODI), 3/18 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 0/1 (Test)
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34. Mohammad Zahid

  • Years Played: 1996-2003
  • Matches: 5 (Test), 11 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 15/10
  • Best Figures in Innings: 7/66 (Test), 2/20 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 1/1 (Test)
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33. Anwar Ali – 28 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2008-2016
  • Matches: 22 (ODI), 16 (T20I)
  • Wickets (ODI/T20I): 18/10
  • Best Figures in Innings: 3/66, 2/27
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32. Usman Khan Shinwari – 48 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2013-
  • Matches: 1 (Test), 17 (ODI), 16 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 1/34/13
  • Best Figures in Innings: 1/54 (Test), 5/34 (ODI), 3/31 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 3/2 (ODI)
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31. Rao Iftikhar Anjum – 78 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2004-2010
  • Matches: 1 (Test), 62 (ODI), 2 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 1/62/2
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/30 (ODI), 1/34 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls:2/1 (ODI)
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30. Rahat Ali – 76 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2012-18
  • Matches: 21 (Test), 14 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 58/18
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/127 (Test), 3/40 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 3/2 (Test)
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29. Shabbir Ahmed – 84 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1999-2007
  • Matches: 10 (Test), 32 (ODI), 1 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 51/33/0
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/48 (Test), 3/32 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 5/2 (Test)
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28. Sohail Khan – 51 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2008-2017
  • Matches: 9 (Test), 13 (ODI), 5 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 27/19/5
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/68 (Test), 5/55 (ODI), 2/13 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 1/2 (Test), 0/1 (ODI)
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27. Mohammad Irfan – 109 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2010-2019
  • Matches: 4 (Test), 60 (ODI), 22 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 10/83/16
  • Best Figures in Innings: 3/44 (Test), 4/30 (ODI), 2/18 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 2/0 (ODI)
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26. Naved Ul-Hasan Rana – 133 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2003-2010
  • Matches: 9 (Test), 74 (ODI), 4 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 18/110/5
  • Best Figures in Innings: 3/30 (Test), 6/27 (ODI), 3/19 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 6/1 (ODI)
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Top 25 Greatest Pakistani Fast Bowlers of All Time

25. Sikander Bakht – 100 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1976-1989
  • Matches: 26 (Test), 27 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 67/33
  • Best Figures in Innings: 8/69 (Test), 4/34(ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 2/3 (Test), 1/0 (ODI)
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24. Naseem Shah – 98 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2019-
  • Matches: 17 (Test), 14 (ODI), 19 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 51/32/15
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/31 (Test), 5/33 (ODI), 2/7 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls:2/1 (Test), 0/2 (ODI)
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23. Sohail Tanvir – 130 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2007-2017
  • Matches: 2 (Test), 62 (ODI), 57 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 5/71/54
  • Best Figures in Innings: 3/83 (Test), 5/48 (ODI), 3/12 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 3/1 (ODI)
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22. Junaid Khan – 189 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2011-2019
  • Matches: 33 (Test), 76 (ODI), 9 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 71/110/8
  • Best Figures in Innings: (Test), (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 1/5 (Test), 4/0 (ODI)

Watch: Junaid Khan vs Virat Kohli

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21. Khan Mohammad – 54 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1952-1958
  • Matches: 13 (Test)
  • Wickets (Test): 54
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/21
  • 4w/5w hauls: 4/4

20. Azhar Mahmood – 162 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1996-2007
  • Matches: 21 (Test), 143 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 39/123
  • Best Figures in Innings: 4/50 (Test), 6/18 (odi0
  • 4w/5w hauls: 2/0 (Test), 2/3 (ODI)
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19. Mudassar Nazar – 177 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1976-1989
  • Matches: 76 (Test), 122 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 66/111
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/32 (Test), 5/28 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 1/1 (Test), 1/1 (ODI)
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18. Haris Rauf – 137 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2020-
  • Matches: 1 (Test), 26 (ODI), 62 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 1/53/83
  • Best Figures in Innings: 1/78 (Test), 5/18 (ODI), 4/18
  • 4w/5w hauls: 4/1 (ODI), 3/0 (T20I)
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17. Mohammad Sami – 227 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2001-2016
  • Matches: 36 (Test), 87 (ODI), 13 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 85/121/21
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/36 (Test), 5/10 (ODI), 3/16 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 3/2 (Test),3/1 (ODI)
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16. Hasan Ali – 249 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2016-
  • Matches: 22 (Test), 60 (ODI), 50 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 78/91/60
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/27(Test), 5/34 (ODI), 4/18 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 2/6 (Test), 1/4 (ODI), 1/0 (T20I)
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15. Wahab Riaz – 237 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2008-2020
  • Matches: 27 (Test), 92 (ODI), 36 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 83/120/34
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/63 (Test), 5/46 (ODI), 3/18 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 3/2 (Test), 5/1 (ODI)

Watch: Wahab Riaz vs Shane Watson

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14. Mahmood Hussain – 68 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1952-1962
  • Matches: 27 (Test)
  • Wickets (Test): 68
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/67
  • 4w/5w hauls: 4/2
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13. Mohammad Abbas – 91 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2017-
  • Matches: 25 (Test), 3 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI):90/1
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/33 (Test), 1/44 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 6/4 (Test)
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12. Abdul Razzaq – 389 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1996-2013
  • Matches: 46 (Test), 265 (ODI), 32 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 100/269/20
  • Best Figures in Innings:5/35 (Test), 6/35 (ODI), 3/13 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 4/1 (Test), 8/3 (ODI)
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11. Mohammad Amir – 259 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2009-2020
  • Matches: 36 (Test), 61 (ODI), 50 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 119/81/59
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/44 (Test), 5/30 (ODI) 4/13 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 6/4 (Test), 1/1 (ODI), 1/0 (T20I)
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The Undisputed Greats: Top 10 Best Pakistani Fast Bowlers of All-Time

10. Shaheen Shah Afridi – 255 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2018-
  • Matches: 27 (Test), 43 (ODI), 52 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 105/84/64
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/51 (Test), 6/35 (ODI), 4/22 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 11/4 (Test), 6/2 (ODI), 1/0 (T20I)

Watch: The King Of Swing At His Best | Top 30 Wickets of Shaheen Shah Afridi

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9. Aaqib Javed – 236 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1988-1998
  • Matches: 22 (Test), 163 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 54/182
  • Best Figures in Innings: 5/84 (Test), 7/37 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls:2 /1 (Test), 2/4 (ODI)

Watch: Aaqib Javed’s Spell Against India

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8. Umar Gul – 427 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2003-2016
  • Matches: 47 (Test), 130 (ODI), 60 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 163/179/85
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/135 (Test), 6/42 (ODI), 5/6 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 12/4 (Test), 4/2 (ODI), 4/2 (T20I)

Also Read: The Magician With the Yorker – Umar Gul


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7. Sarfraz Nawaz – 240 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1969-1984
  • Matches: 55 (Test), 45 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI):177/63
  • Best Figures in Innings: 9/86 (Test), 4/27 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 14/4 (Test), 4/0 (ODI)

Watch: Sarfraz Nawaz 9/86 vs Australia 1st test 1978/79 MCG PART ONE

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6. Mohammad Asif – 165 Wickets

  • Years Played: 2005-2010
  • Matches: 23 (Test), 38 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 106/46/13
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/41 (Test), 3/28 (ODI), 4/18 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 6/7 (Test), 1/0 (T20I)

Watch: From the Vault: Asif rocks Australia with six at the SCG – YouTube

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5. Fazal Mahmood – 139 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1952-1962
  • Matches: 34 (Test)
  • Wickets (Test): 139
  • Best Figures in Innings: 7/42 (Test)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 6/13 (Test)

Watch: Fazal Mahmood Bowling Clip

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4. Shoaib Akhtar – 445 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1997-2011
  • Matches: 46 (Test), 163 (ODI), 16 (T20I)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI/T20Is): 179/247/19
  • Best Figures in Innings: 6/11 (Test), 6/16 (ODI), 3/38 (T20I)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 10/12 (Test), 6/4 (ODI)

Watch: Shoaib Akhtar Bowling Killer Yorker to Famous players | Best Yorkers in Cricket History

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3. Imran Khan – 544 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1971-1992
  • Matches: 88 (Test), 175 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 362/182
  • Best Figures in Innings: 8/58 (Test), 6/14 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 17/23 (Test), 3/1 (ODI)

Watch: (30) Mix Tape: All-round Imran at his brilliant best – YouTube

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2. Waqar Younis – 789 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1989-2003
  • Matches: 87 (Test), 262 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 373/416
  • Best Figures in Innings: 7/76 (Test), 7/36 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 28/22 (Test), 14/13 (ODI)

Watch: Mix Tape: Waqar Younis sending stumps flying

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1. Wasim Akram – 916 Wickets

  • Years Played: 1984-2003
  • Matches: 104 (Test), 356 (ODI)
  • Wickets (Test/ODI): 414/502
  • Best Figures in Innings: 7/119 (Test), 5/15 (ODI)
  • 4w/5w hauls: 20/25 (Test), 17/6 (ODI)

Watch: Wasim Akram Top 10 Swing Balls – YouTube

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Pakistan Fast Bowlers in Each World Cup

ODI World Cup

  • 1975 ODI WC: Asif Iqbal,Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Naseer Malik, Asif Masood, Pervez Mir
  • 1979 ODI WC: Asif Iqbal, Sikander Bakht, Imran Khan, Mudassar Nazar, Hasan Jamil
  • 1983 ODI WC: Imran Khan, Mudassar Nazar, Rashid Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Shahid Mahboob, Tahir Naqqash
  • 1987 ODI WC: Imran Khan, Manzoor Elahi, Saleem Jaffar, Wasim Akram
  • 1992 ODI WC: Imran Khan, Aaqib Javed, Wasim Akram, Wasim Haider
  • 1996 ODI WC: Wasim Akram, Aaqib Javed, Ata-ur-Rehman, Waqar Younis
  • 1999 ODI WC: Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Azhar Mahmood, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar
  • 2003 ODI WC: Waqar Younis, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram
  • 2007 ODI WC: Azhar Mahmood, Mohammad Sami, Naved-ul-Hasan Rana, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat
  • 2011 ODI WC: Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan (replaced Sohail Tanvir)
  • 2015 ODI WC: Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali (Junaid Khan Withdrawn), Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil
  • 2019 ODI WC: Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Wahab Riaz

T20 World Cup

  • 2007 T20 WC: Iftikhar Anjum Rao, Mohammad Asif, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat
  • 2009 T20 WC: Rao Iftikhar Anjum (replaces Shoaib Akhtar), Mohammad Amir, Shoail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat (replaces Abdul Razzaq)
  • 2010 T20 WC: Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami, Hammad Azam
  • 2012 T20 WC: Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir
  • 2014 T20 WC: Bilawal Bhatti, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Talha, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul
  • 2016 T20 WC: Anwar Ali, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Sami
  • 2021 T20 WC: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shahnawaz Dahani (Reserve)
  • 2022 T20 WC: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shahnawaz Dahani (Reserve)

Final Thoughts

We have all heard the phrase, “Pace is pace.”

Pure pace can wreak havoc for the opposition teams while providing moments of beauty for the audience.

Pakistan cricket has been a blessing to the cricketing world due to the fast bowlers talent they produce. It was Sarfraz Nawaz & Imran Khan early on, Fazal Mohammad & Khan Mohammad even earlier. The trio of Wasim Akram-Waqar Younis-Shoaib Akhtar took the legend of Pakistani fast bowling to new heights.

Each generation since, Pakistan continues to find raw talent like Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah today, and I hope they continue to produce such gems for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Greatest Pakistan Fast Bowlers

Why do Pakistan produce so many fast bowlers?

Pakistan produces so many fast bowlers due to their cricketing culture. In the early days of Pakistan Test cricket, the likes of Fazal Mahmood, Mahmood Hussain, and Khan Mohammad set the tone. This was taken to another level by the duo of Imran Khan & Sarfraz Nawaz and then solidified in their cricketing DNA by Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.

Who are some of the most famous fast bowlers from Pakistan?

Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Amir, and Wahab Riaz are some of the most famous fast bowlers from Pakistan.Pakistan Fast Bowlers - List of the Greatest Pakistan Fast Bowlers of All Time. Collage shown in two rows. Top Row (From Left to Right): Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul. Bottom Row: (From Left to Right) Mohammad Asif, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi

Which bowlers have taken the most wickets in Pakistan cricket history?

Wasim Akram (916), Waqar Younis (789), Imran Khan (544), Shoaib Akhtar (438), and Umar Gul (427) have taken the most wickets in Pakistan cricket history across formats.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, LLC 2023. Originally published on 09/13/2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

The Magician With the Yorker – Umar Gul

What is the first image that comes in your mind when you think of a magician? Pulling a rabbit out of the hat? Doing a card trick? Walking on water?

For me, it is a fast in-swinging yorker that dips underneath the bat, surprises the batsman, and castles the stumps.

Let us look back at the magnificent career of someone who did exactly that, Umar Gul – The Magician With the Yorker.

Umar Gul’s retirement evoked an emotional response from all around the world following his final match at the National T20 Cup. Here is our take on Umar Gul’s most memorable moments, his legacy, and what we can learn from him.

COMMENT below on Your favorite Umar Gul memories, SHARE with your friends and family, and SUBSCRIBE below for more such articles.

If you love watching fast bowlers and stumps rattled, stay tuned. Several videos ahead! Watch till the end to listen to Gul in his own words.

The Beginning

Pakistan cricket is known for unearthing fast-bowling talents one after the other, especially left-arm quicks. Pakistan is world cricket’s pace bowling factory. Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz created a rich legacy.

Over the years, they have produced the intimidating Wasims, Wahabs, and Waqars, the breathtaking Shoaibs and Samis, and the gifted Asifs and Amirs. The list is endless. Recently, with the rise of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, it never seems to stop.

Notice something?

Umar Gul, the architect of Pakistan’s 2009 T20 World Cup victory, is not even mentioned. That is exactly how Gul’s career panned—under the radar.

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Debuting in 2003, he burst onto the Test scene later in 2004 against India at Lahore with a brilliant 5-wicket haul and man of the match performance. Unfortunately, injuries kept him out of the squad until he cemented his place later between 2006-2012.

Amidst the artistry from the other end, the numerous controversies and turmoil, and the general ebbs and flows of Pakistan cricket, Umar Gul stayed a constant.

Regardless of whatever happened around him, he just kept swimming.

Pinned his yorkers—day in and day out, consistently took wickets, and bowled at the death.

The Statistics

The Highlights

  • 5th highest wicket-taker in T20I and 2nd highest for a fast-bowler
  • Highest Wicket taker in 2007 and 2009 T20 World Cup
  • Highest Wicket-taker for Pakistan in 2011 ODI World Cup
  • Features twice in top 10 T20I bowling figures – both 5/6 vs New Zealand and South Africa
  • 6th best T20I strike rate among all bowlers

The Stats

Tests: 47 matches, 163 wickets, 34.06 average, Best Innings – 6/135, Best Match – 9/134
ODIs: 130 matches, 179 wickets, 29.34 average, Best 6/42
T20Is: 60 matches, 85 wickets,16.97 average,14.1 strike rate, Best 5/6, 4 4-fors, 2 5-fors
T20s: 167 matches, 222 wickets, 20.16 average, Best 6/24, 9 4-fors, 3 5-fors

The Memory

Umar Gul and the first two T20 World Cups were inseparable. He took 13 wickets in each tournament, ending as the highest wicket-taker in both.

Although Pakistan did not win the 2007 final, his exploits in the world cup were scintillating. One of the moments of the tournament happened earlier when the long and silky haired Gul castled counterpart MS Dhoni.

My favorite memory of Umar Gul though is from the 2009 T20 World Cup. It was just a great World Cup to watch – Netherlands upsetting England courtesy Stuart Broad, the Dilscoop mesmerizing spectators on the international stage, and a clinical Pakistan team.

Gul’s best performance came at a crucial Super 8 stage, when he picked 5 for 6 against New Zealand, reducing them from 73-4 to 99 all out.


Due to his death bowling skills, Gul laid a solid platform which led Pakistan to go one step further this time around—winning a World Cup after 27 years.

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The Legacy

The IPL is the flavor of the season right now. Guess what? He even took 4-23 at the IPL with Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season!

Gul was well and truly one of the premier fast bowlers from 2007-2012 across formats. His stellar 6-42 against England was judged as ESPNCricinfo’s Best ODI Bowling Performance of 2010.

He continued his form as Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2011 ODI World Cup and was a regular member of the international squad till 2013, when injuries began to halt his career. Unfortunately apart from a brief recall in 2016, Gul’s international career was over at the age of 32.

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Gul’s legacy is forever etched in stone with the 2009 World T20 triumph, but his impact in cricket is much more.

He taught the world how to bowl in T20 cricket.

These days, T20 leagues invest in “death-overs specialists” with the likes of Andrew Tye, Jasprit Bumrah, Chris Morris, and Shaheen Afridi, but this would not have been possible without Umar Gul’s contribution. He practically created that spot.

Although death bowling was his focal point, Gul was more than just yorkers.

He had the skills as a proper line and length pace Test bowler but evolved his art with reverse swing, bouncers, and most importantly, change of pace slower deliveries, which was uncommon at that time.

Only Lasith Malinga had a death-overs game to compete with Umar Gul and these two pioneered the art of death bowling in T20 cricket.

What Can We Learn?

Right in the middle of his career, Pakistan cricket entered a tumultuous period. Between 2008-2010, an attack on Sri Lankan cricketers, the 2010 spot-fixing saga, and home games shifting to the U.A.E. jolted Pakistan cricket.

As always, Umar Gul would adapt. New situation, new environment, new teammates. Mentorship has been one of his great characteristics throughout his career.

He partnered with the likes of Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, and Mohammad Irfan to transition to another era. In the dry tracks of UAE, they would find new tricks to the fast bowling trade, bringing life out of these pitches.

Adaptability is what makes Umar Gul great.

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He was not the fastest of the Pakistani bowlers, nor could he swing it like Asif, but he made sure to reinvent himself when the time was required. He was a shrewd and thinking cricketer. Always one step ahead of the batsman. Having a variety of skills is one aspect. Utilizing the skill at the right moment and varying it effectively—now that is what makes him great.

Animated on the field and quiet off the field, he did his duty. He changed cricket and inspired millions of budding cricketers around the world, mentoring youngsters in the domestic team even to the last day.

We can all learn from Umar Gul and apply these traits in our daily life as well. Change is the only constant in life, and we should learn to adjust accordingly. If we focus on the process and continue to improve our skills, there is no reason why we cannot compete with the best in the world.

Life will throw several challenges at you. You may get injured, have a bad day at the office, go through emotional turbulence, but do not worry.

Hang in there and just keep swimming as Umar Gul did.

What will I miss? Personally, I just adored Umar Gul’s action. It was fluent, uncomplicated, had a slight stop, but was straight to the point.

He was truly a magician.

Thank you, Umar Gul. Have a happy and healthy retirement.

Umar Gul in his Own Words

The best way to end this journey is Umar Gul in his own words. A wonderful send-off to a champion bloke. Listen below.

Sources: ESPNCricinfo, ICC,
Image Courtesy: Getty Images, Umar Gul – the junes, CC 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons