July 21, 2011

Talking about Wasim Akram and Sourav Chandidas Ganguly has brought back many memories when often watching one of India-Pakistan matches, I would find myself torn between my desire to jump with joy when Wasim Akram bowled Sourav Ganguly out, and my torment at not being able to watch Ganguly drive one of his famous off-side shots anymore.

Both these legends are so alike and unlike at the same time. They both led their respective teams in test and ODI cricket, are naturally talented, have polished their skills through continuous hard work and have a passion of mentoring the youth.

Things which set Wasim Akram and Sourav Ganguly apart are their different areas of expertise. Where Wasim Akram was a star bowler and dubbed as Sultan of Swing, Ganguly has the batting talent that has given him the title of “Next to God on the Off-side”.

Wasim reigned on Pakistani cricket for 19 years through his bold leadership, his unprecedented bowling talent and his down-to-earth personality. Numerous times, his God-gifted bowling talent made the critics sit back and watch in amazement while he threw deliveries that commentators could only call “mysterious “ and “…nothing short of brilliance”.

Wasim was not just a naturally talented bowler; he worked hard at devising new bowling techniques and styles – the initiation of reverse swing is a fine example of it. . His knowledge of line and length, ability to swing and reverse swing the ball and his unmatched talent to keep the batsman in dark about the kind of delivery he was about to throw, contributed greatly towards his success. When it comes to mentoring, and imparting his bowling wisdom, Wasim is unbiased. Therefore, it was possible for Irfan Pathan, Brett Lee, Nathan Brackan, Mitchell Johnson and many other bowlers to learn reverse swing from the King himself.

Ganguly, or more lovingly called, Dada, is still active on field and has played the fourth season of IPL as a member of Pune Warriors India team. Hugely famous for his off-side drives, Ganguly made a name for himself as an equally dangerous opening batsman. His strength is to take maximum advantage of the field restrictions in the early overs of the match, which proved immensely advantageous for Indian side many times. He holds the record of highest successful opening partnerships along with Sachin Tendulkar, with 26 centuries and 44 half centuries.

Ganguly also shown great skills at anticipating the length of the delivery and playing the stroke coming on mid-wicket which often went on to become a huge six. He especially likes attacking left-arm spin bowlers and personally likes his cover-drives the most. But on-side of off-side, the skill of this Maharja has been great and has left many bowlers frustrated many times with his consistent high scores.

Wasim Akram and Sourav Ganguly would remain the subject of discussions, compliments and critiques by experts and fans the world over. This article is just to pay a tribute to these two great legends, on behalf of hundreds of die-hard fans, who just cannot get enough of them!

Written by: Madiha Riaz
For more information: info@wasimakramlive.com

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