October 30, 2014

Pace great Wasim Akram has paid fellow left-armer Mitchell Johnson a big compliment by saying it’s a treat to watch him bowl. Pakistan’s Akram, who claimed 414 Test wickets, says Australia’s Johnson has been one of world cricket’s big improvers in the past two years.

“The reason? He’s bringing the ball in to the right-handers, especially with the new ball,” Akram told reporters at a Twenty20 coaching camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Wednesday.

“And he has got pace, 150 plus (km/h). He’s unplayable. “We’ve seen him against South Africa and we’ve seen him against England in Australia. “He’s definitely up there.” Johnson was player of the series in last summer’s Ashes triumph, claiming 37 wickets before picking up another 22 in the three-Test series in South Africa in February-March.

Pakistan won last week’s first Test against Australia in Dubai by 221 runs and took no risks against Johnson, who claimed match figures of 3-73 off 43 overs on a lifeless pitch.

Left-hander Johnson was also a good contributor with the bat, scoring 67 and 31. “He’s batting well. He’s bowling well,” said Akram, 48. “He’s one of the best bowlers in world cricket now. For me it’s a treat to watch somebody with his pace and with his swing.”

Akram’s high praise follows comments from his former new-ball partner and current Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, who said Johnson was a long way short of Akram’s class. “I won’t compare anyone with Wasim,” Waqar said last week.

“He is a legend and has done wonderful things for Pakistan over the last decade or so. “Johnson has a long way to go if he wants to be compared with Wasim.” Waqar says Johnson has an “x-factor”.

“He is definitely a threat and a very fine bowler,” Waqar said.


* 414 Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

* 355 Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka)

* 311 Zaheer Khan (India)

* 267 Mitchell Johnson (Australia).

Courtesy: SBS News

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