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Imran Khan vs Misbah-ul-Haq: A statistical comparison

Both Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq are two of the finest cricketers to have come out of Pakistan

Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq are first cousins and have been two of Pakistan’s greatest players. Both have been great ambassadors of their nation and have helped the Pakistan cricket team to a number of victories.

Khan came in to the national team in 1971 and soon established himself as one of the greatest all-rounders in the history of the game. While he was a lethal pacer, he was also a pretty handy batsman in the middle-order.

Khan became the captain of the national team in 1982 when he was at the zenith of his international career. Even though he was 30 at the time, he led the Pakistan team for a decade before his international retirement following their victory at the 1992 World Cup where he made a brilliant 72 in the final against England.

Following Imran Khan’s retirement, Pakistan had the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Inzamam-ul-Haq lead the national team. The side achieved some significant results including reaching the final of the 1999 World Cup. Following Inzamam’s retirement in 2007, a 33-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq finally made a return after a gap of six years.

Misbah first came into the limelight during the inaugural ICC World T20 where he played a number of brilliant knocks throughout the competition. He nearly won it for Pakistan in the final as he dispatched the Indian bowlers to all corners of the field before being dismissed while playing a paddle scoop which resulted in India winning the match by 5 runs.

Also read: Sourav Ganguly vs Graeme Smith: A statistical comparison

Despite being in his mid-30s, Misbah established himself as one of Pakistan’s most crucial players and played a huge role in the team winning the 2009 ICC World T20 and reaching the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup. A few months down the line, Misbah was appointed Pakistan’s skipper in all formats although he would step down from the T20 captaincy within a year.

Despite his batting being exemplary, the right hander’s captaincy came under scrutiny in 2013 with a number of critics opining that he should be sacked from the captaincy. Misbah eventually retired from ODIs following Pakistan’s quarter-final exit at the 2015 World Cup. However, he continued to lead the Test team and under his leadership, the Green Shirts became the top-ranked Test side for the first time in nearly three decades.

While both Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq have played in different eras, both of them have significantly contributed to cricket in their nation and it’s really hard to decide who amongst the two was a better cricketer.

Even though Misbah did not lead his nation to a World Cup win, something that Imran Khan did, he is still regarded as one of the finest captains in Pakistan’s history.

Here’s a small statistical comparison between the two:

Note: Twenty20 stats are not being considered


Overall record

In Tests, both Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq had endured disappointing performances during their first few series. Khan had a disappointing start to his Test career in 1971 and during his first few years, had an on-and-off time with the national team before cementing his place in the national setup during the late 1970s.

Khan, however, began to bowl brilliantly and was at his peak during the early 80s after which he was appointed the captain of the national side which he would not relinquish until the end of his international career in 1992.

During the 70s, Khan was able to chip in with some useful runs down the order but his batting improved during the 80s and he went on to achieve the all-rounder’s triple in Test cricket – scoring 3000 runs and picking up 300 wickets.

He ended his Test career with 3807 runs in 88 Tests at an average of 37.69 with a 136 against Australia at Adelaide in 1990 being his highest score. The right-hander picked up 362 wickets with the ball at an impressive average of 22.81 and an equally impressive economy rate of 2.54 with a spell of 8/58 against Sri Lanka being his best bowling figures.

In ODIs, Khan’s bowling was not as prolific, however, he was able to get crucial breakthroughs when required and was also able to contain the batsmen. As a batsman, Khan was a useful middle-order player who could play up the order when required; the most notable incident of which was seen during the 1992 World Cup final against England at Melbourne when he came to bat at No. 3 and scored a brilliant 72.

CRICKET-SRI-PAK : News Photo
Misbah is Pakistan’s most successful captain

The now 64-year-old ended his ODI career with 3709 runs from 175 matches at an average of 33.41 and a strike rate of 72.65 with a brilliant 102 against Sri Lanka at the 1983 World Cup being his best score. With the ball, Khan picked up 182 wickets at an average of 26.61 and an economy rate of 3.89 with a spell of 6/14 against India being his best.

Misbah-ul-Haq first came into the national team during 2001 but he produced a number of lacklustre performances in Tests although his performances in ODIs were decent enough, having scored two half-centuries during the PSO tri-nation tournament featuring Australia and Kenya.

However, he was extremely inconsistent in 2003 and was dropped from the team before being recalled in 2007 during the inaugural World Twenty20. Misbah played a huge role in Pakistan’s run to the final and produced a couple of impressive knocks during the course of the tournament.

Following his exploits in the World T20, Misbah became a regular on the team roster and soon established himself as one of the team’s most essential entities. He was given the Test captaincy in 2010 and a year later, he became the captain in all formats of the game. Despite being in his late 30s, Misbah kept proving that he had a lot to offer the team as he played several invaluable knocks for Pakistan.

In Tests, the right-hander has so far scored 4951 runs in 72 Tests at an average of 45.84 and a strike rate of 44.48 with an unbeaten knock of 161 against India at the Eden Gardens in 2007 being his highest Test score. In ODIs, the 42-year-old scored 5122 runs in 162 matches at an impressive average of 43.40 and a strike rate of 73.70 with an unbeaten 96 against West Indies at the 2013 Champions Trophy being his highest score.

Overall Test numbers of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan88 (126)380718637.6913636222.812.548/58
Misbah-ul-Haq72 (126)4951361045.84161*----

Overall ODI numbers of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan175 (151)370919133.41102*18226.613.898/58
Misbah-ul-Haq162 (149)512242043.4096*----

Captaincy record

Imran Khan replaced Javed Miandad as the captain of the national team in 1982 and remained the captain till his retirement from international cricket. Under his leadership, Pakistan achieved some very significant wins in both Tests and ODIs.

In only his second Test as captain, Khan led Pakistan to their first ever victory on English soil since 1954. Five years later, in 1987, Khan led Pakistan to their first ever Test series win over India in India and a few months later, he led his side to its first ever series victory over England in England. In Khan’s 48 Tests as captain, Pakistan won 14 of them, lost 8 of them, and drew the remaining 26 matches.

In ODIs, Imran gave Pakistan cricket its finest hour when he led the team to victory at the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The cricketer-turned-politician also helped the team to the semi-finals of the 1979 World Cup and led them to the semi-finals of the 1983 and 1987 World Cups.

Image result for imran khan test
Pakistan’s greatest ever all-rounder

Khan has led Pakistan in a total of 139 ODIs which is the highest for any Pakistan skipper. During his captaincy stint in ODIs, Pakistan won 75 matches, lost 59, tied one and the remaining four matches had no result.

Meanwhile, Misbah-ul-Haq became the Test captain in 2010 before taking over in all three formats in 2011 after the Tour of West Indies. In 2012, he stepped down from the T20 captaincy but he continued to lead the ODI and Test teams. Misbah remained the ODI captain till the 2015 World Cup after which he retired from ODIs to prolong his Test career. He continued to lead the Test team and under his leadership, Pakistan became the No.1 ranked Test team in the world for a short period.

Misbah is statistically Pakistan’s most successful Test skipper with 24 victories in the 49 Tests in which he captained, which is ten more than Imran Khan and Javed Miandad’s tally of 14. In the remaining Tests which he led the team, Pakistan lost 14 and drew 11.

Misbah led Pakistan in 87 ODIs and under his captaincy, they won 45, tied two, and lost 39 games with one match being abandoned.

Test captaincy records of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq

PlayerTests captainedWinLossDrawWin Percentage
Imran Khan481482629.17%
Misbah-ul-Haq4924141148.98%

ODI captaincy records of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq

PlayerODIs captainedWinLossTieNo resultWin Percentage
Imran Khan13975591453.96%
Misbah-ul-Haq8745392151.72%

Performances as captain

Whenever a player is appointed the captain of the national team, the first question that arises is whether the captaincy would affect his performance as an individual.

Before being given the captaincy of the national team, Imran Khan had scored 1399 runs with the bat in 62 Test innings, averaging 25.43 and had taken 175 wickets with the ball, averaging 25.53 and an economy of 2.61. In ODIs, Khan had scored only 462 runs with the bat in 29 innings, averaging 25.66. With the ball, he had picked up 51 wickets at an average of 20.45 and an economy rate of 3.28.

However, captaincy actually enhanced the player’s performances in both formats, with the bat as well as with the ball. In the 48 Tests that he captained, Khan scored 2408 runs at an average of 52.34 and took 187 wickets with the ball, averaging only 20.26 and at an economy rate of 2.46.

Australia v Pakistan - 2nd Test: Day 4 : News Photo
Misbah’s performances improved after he was given the armband

In the 139 ODIs that he captained, Khan scored 3247 runs at an average of 34.91 and picked up 131 wickets with the ball, averaging 29.01.

Before Misbah-ul-Haq was appointed the captain of the national team, he had scored 1008 runs at an average of 33.60 in 33 Test innings and 2119 runs in 75 ODIs at an average of 41.54. Misbah’s performances improved after he was made the captain of the national team, particularly in Tests as he scored 3943 runs at an average of 50.55 in 93 innings. In ODIs, he scored 3003 runs in 83 innings at an average of 44.82.

Individual performances by Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq before Test captaincy

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan40 (62)13994125.4312317525.232.618/58
Misbah-ul-Haq19 (33)10084233.60161*----

Individual Performances by Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq after Test captaincy

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan48 (64)240814552.3413618720.262.468/60
Misbah-ul-Haq53 (93)394332850.55135----

Individual Performances by Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq before ODI captaincy

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan36 (29)4621025.6662*5120.453.286/14
Misbah-ul-Haq75 (66)211915041.5493*----

Individual Performances of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq after ODI captaincy

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan139 (122)324718134.91102*13129.014.104/27
Misbah-ul-Haq87 (83)300327044.8296*----

Performance in international tournaments

Imran Khan played in the first five cricket World Cups from 1975-1992 in addition to the 1986 Asia Cup. In these tournaments, he played a total of 31 matches and scored 689 runs at an average of 32.81. He bagged 37 wickets in all the tournaments combined at an impressive average of 18.59 and an economy rate of 3.79.

Khan’s best performances came during the 1983 World Cup, where he played a couple of brilliant innings with the bat, and the 1987 World Cup, where he batted decently and was the second highest wicket-taker of the tournament.

Meanwhile, barring three World T20s, Misbah-ul-Haq played a total of seven tournaments for Pakistan that included two World Cups in 2011 and 2015, three Champions Trophies in 2002, 2009, and 2013, and three Asia Cups in 2008, 2012, and 2014. In these tournaments, he played a total of 36 matches and scored a total of 1284 runs at an average of 49.38.

Misbah played a crucial part in almost all international tournaments but his finest performances with the bat at an international tournament came during the 2011 World Cup where he helped Pakistan reach the semi-finals, scoring three half-centuries in the process.

Performances of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq at international tournaments

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan28 (24)6894132.81102*3718.593.794/37
Misbah-ul-Haq36 (32)128414049.3896*----

Captaincy in international tournaments

Imran Khan led Pakistan for a total of four tournaments that included three World Cups from 1983-1992 and the 1988 Asia Cup. In all these tournaments combined, the all-rounder led the team in a total of 25 matches, winning 16 of them and losing nine. He led the team to consecutive World Cup semi-finals in 1983 and 1987 as well as victory in the 1992 World Cup before ending his international career.

WORLD CUP 92 IMRAN : News Photo
Imran Khan finished on a high

Misbah also led Pakistan in four tournaments that included two Asia Cups, a World Cup, and a Champions Trophy, comprising a total of 19 matches, winning 10 and losing nine. His biggest achievement as Pakistan’s skipper was definitely winning the 2012 Asia Cup.

Captaincy record of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq at international tournaments

PlayerMatches CaptainedWinLossWin Percentage
Imran Khan2516964%
Misbah-ul-Haq1910952.63%

Performance in different conditions

What defines a player’s versatility is his adaptability to play in different conditions. While Imran Khan has played a number of matches at home, Misbah-ul-Haq has played away from Pakistan for the majority of his international career.

Khan’s performances at home have been incredible but he has also done exceptionally well in Australia, with the ball as well as with the bat. On the other hand, Misbah’s performances in the UAE have been the best compared to his performances in other countries but he has also performed well in the few matches he got to play in England, Australia, and New Zealand.

Imran Khan in different conditions(Tests)

VenueMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Subcontinent51 (66)206610441.32135*20520.282.498/58
Australia and New Zealand17 (28)9366140.6913662282.416/63
England12 (17)5002135.711184724.632.387/40
West Indies8 (15)3050021.78474825.123.297/80

Imran Khan in different conditions(ODIs)

VenueMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Subcontinent65 (51)11736035.5484*6825.443.934/37
Australia and New Zealand57 (52)13807032.09825430.793.783/19
England20 (17)4332148.11102*2021.053.333/15
West Indies6 (6)1521025.3353933.116.203/36
UAE27 (25)5713028.55773123.613.856/14

Misbah-ul-Haq in different conditions(Tests)

VenueMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest Score
Subcontinent23 (37)13298241.53161*
Australia and New Zealand11 (21)5264027.6899
England4 (7)2822140.28114
West Indies2 (4)1811160.33102*
South Africa3 (6)1351022.5064
Zimbabwe3 (6)2894072.2579*
UAE27 (45)220916659.70135

Misbah-ul-Haq in different conditions(ODIs)

VeueMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest Score
Subcontinent71 (63)185311035.6383*
Australia and New Zealand14 (13)6567054.6793*
England3 (3)1732086.5096*
West Indies10 (10)444607475
South Africa10 (10)3783047.2580
Zimbabwe8 (7)2373059.2583*
UAE38 (35)10997037.8979*
Ireland4 (4)60002032
Kenya3 (3)1392069.5050*
Scotland1 (1)8310-83*

Contribution to Pakistan’s victories

Both Khan and Misbah produced quite a few match-winning performances for Pakistan during their respective playing days.

In Tests, the former scored 900 Test runs in 31 innings at an average of 36 and claimed 155 wickets at an average of only 14.50 and at an economy rate of 2.27 in games that his side won. In ODIs, meanwhile, Khan scored most of his runs in winning causes, with 2066 runs in 73 innings at an impressive average of 46.95. With the ball, he scalped 104 wickets at an average of 24.27 and an economy rate of 3.85.

Misbah-ul-Haq, on the other hand, has scored 2163 runs at an average of 52.43 in the 27 Tests that Pakistan won during his career so far. In ODIs, he scored 2892 runs in 94 matches at an average of 49.86.

Test stats of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in Pakistan victories

PlayerMatches (Innings)Runs50s100sAverageHighest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan26 (31)900413611715514.502.278/58
Misbah-ul-Haq27 (44)216315761.80114----

ODI stats of Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in Pakistan victories

PlayerMatchesRuns50s100sAverage`Highest ScoreWicketsAverageEconomy RateBest Bowling Figures
Imran Khan93 (73)206614146.95102*10424.273.854/27
Misbah-ul-Haq94 (82)289225049.8693*----

Final verdict

While one was utilised as an all-rounder, the other was a batsman who had the ability to handle pressure and change gears at a moment’s notice. Based on the above statistics, it is evident that both Imran Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq contributed immensely to Pakistan cricket and that they will go down as two of the finest cricketers the country has ever produced.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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