January 13, 2011

Wasim and Waqar were mysterious, exotic and the most deadly fast bowlers to have ever lived the cricketing world. The “Two Ws” were a sight for sour eyes, simply magnificent to watch as they crippled the opposition. The cricketing world had seen a few excellent seamers, namely the West Indian pair Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose and the Australian pair Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson; then the 1990s decade had seamers like Kapil Dev, Allan Donald and Glenn McGrath to name a few , but Wasim and Waqar duo were just exceptional.

The recent cricket formats played are geared towards batsmen and long the days have gone when people used to enjoy watching bowlers do their magic. Wasim and Waqar were certainly among pacers that bowled six magical deliveries in an over. Each ball had the potential of taking a wicket, and we always expected the sound of timber on each delivery. Both are legends in their own right and both invented their own deliveries and mastered it to perfection.

Wasim Akram and his talents were discovered by Javed Miandad who saw him bowling at one of the national trials held in Lahore. He made his Test cricket debut in 1985 against New Zealand, where he took all ten wickets in only his second Test match. Waqar Younis on the other hand was discovered by Imran Khan and got a chance to play Pakistan’s arch rivals India in his international cricket debut in 1989. He took 4 wickets in that match including that of Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev.

Wasim and Waqar opened the bowling attack and were able to swing the ball tremendously, both with new and the old ball. Both “the sultan of swing” and “wiki” had different bowling styles and had varying approaches to bowling. Wasim believed in setting its prey; he got the batsmen uneasy on the crease by pitching at good length with accuracy and cutting and swinging the ball from that length.

Whereas Waqar believed in bursting out his opponents with dipping, fast paced in-swinging Yorkers. He focused on aggression and fury to create fear in the minds of the opponents and thereby containing run rate by taking wickets.

This difference in bowling approaches is visible through their economy rate and strike rate. Waqar was expensive with an economy rate of 3.25 while Wasim focused on accuracy was much thrifty with 2.59 runs per over. The strike rate however is much impressive for Waqar by taking wickets in every 43.4 balls in Tests while Wasim’s strike rate is 54.6. Similarly in one-days Waqar had a better strike rate of 30.5 mainly due to his “wicket on every ball” approach, in contrast to Wasim’s 36.2.

All in all the Two W’s are unforgettable in how they got their opponents jittery. Moreover the impact these men have had on the cricket in showcasing how bowling is significant to the art of cricket that can become a deadly weapon and be used effectively to win matches out of nowhere.

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