May 1, 2012

Fast bowling is one of the most attractive facets of cricket and when it comes to genuine speedsters, the contribution of Pakistan can never be ignored. Historically, Pakistan has produced a number of out and out fast bowlers, who have threatened even the best of batsmen in the business.

Fazal Mahmood, Khan Mohammad, Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar are all legends of the game without a shadow of doubt. However, the one man who stands head and shoulders above all of them is the former captain of Pakistan, Wasim Akram.

Cricket analysts from across the globe have a consensus that Akram is the best left-arm fast bowler ever witnessed in the history of the game and there are no two opinions about it.

Wasim started playing club cricket from Ludhiana Gymkhana Lahore in his teenage and he was lucky enough to have been spotted by the selectors during a net-session. He is one of those very few cricketers who made their way to international cricket without playing any first-class cricket.

He picked up a ten-wicket haul in only his second Test match and since then, he never looked back. The fast bowler remained an integral part of the national team for almost two decades.

Akram had a small bustling run-up and it was quite amazing that he could produce immense speed from hardly 12 to 14 paces. The left-arm fast bowler was extremely lucky to have the guidance of Imran Khan during the early days. Wasim has admitted that he would never have been the same bowler without the presence of Khan close to him.

It was Imran who advised young Akram to curtail his run-up in the late 1980s. During an interview, Akram revealed how Imran convinced him to shorten his run-up, if the left-arm fast bowler wanted to prolong his career.

There is no doubt about the fact that Imran groomed a number of young cricketers when he was leading the Green Shirts but one can safely say that Akram was his greatest find. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that Akram surpassed his mentor as a fast bowler. Some of the cricket analysts claim that Akram may not have got the same charisma, as that of Imran, but he is the best cricketer produced by the country.

Along with Waqar Younis, Akram formed one of the most destructive bowling partnerships of all times. The two won numerous matches for Pakistan during 1990s and were unplayable at times with the old ball. The two ‘Ws’ took the legacy of fast bowling of Pakistan to new heights.

The two complimented each other in an amazing fashion. Waqar had extra-pace and a slinging action, which helped him to reverse-swing the old ball. The right-arm fast bowler had a long run-up and he was mentally very tough. Waqar was never ready to accept defeat and snatched victory from opposition’s jaws a number of times.

To be continued …

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent Bettor.com’s official editorial policy.

Courtesy: BETTOR.COM



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