You might think stuffing a couple of ’70s superstars – when ODI cricket was a different sport to what it is now – in an all-time World Cup XI is giving romance too much due. But Zaheer Abbas especially was ahead of his time as an ODI batsman (hello, strike rate nearly 85, only behind Kapil Dev and Viv Richards in the mid-’70s to mid-’80s decade for batsmen with over 1000 runs). Majid Khan’s contribution in those early World Cup games is undoubted, though his inclusion does also lead us back to that eternal Pakistani truth: there ain’t no Pakistani openers.
For a little bit, straightforward selections: Javed Miandad no arguments, Imran Khan no arguments, cornerstones of Pakistan’s only World Cup triumph, capable of long, stabilising partnerships and setting up of defendable totals. And then, Misbah-ul-Haq. Sorry, but this is anxiety: at some point Pakistan will be 17 for 3 and that is the house in which Misbah lives.
Moin Khan’s glovework is incidental really to his madcap ability to sweep sixes off fast bowlers. But alongside Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar’s inclusion, it’s also a confession that the 1999 Pakistan World Cup side is probably my favourite. Mushtaq Ahmed beats out Saqlain Mustaq, because legspin. No sixth bowler is a risk but what a quintet.