HomeAnalysisWasim Akram: The artist who swung old and new

Wasim Akram: The artist who swung old and new

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It was an absolute ripper that castled Allan Lamb in the 1992 World Cup final. The left arm seamer came around the wicket, the ball dipped in, and just when Lamb thought that he had the length covered, the cherry moved out a fraction, and took out the off stump. It was a craftsman at work.

Wasim Akram showed the world how even an old ball could trouble at the batsman. A master of the art of reverse swing, Akram produced several moments of magic that are etched in the memories of cricket aficionados. In a career that lasted 19 years, the maestro made several batsmen appear clueless with the ball in his hand.

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Why is Akram the greatest pacer in ODI cricket?

Akram will qualify as the greatest pacer in the history of ODI cricket. He is the only pacer to have picked more than 500 wickets in ODI cricket, and the only Pakistani pacer to take two hat tricks in ODI’s. Here, let us analyse the top 5 pacers with the highest wickets in ODI history.

Player NameInningsWicketsAverageEconomy
Wasim Akram35150223.523.89
Waqar Younis25841623.844.68
Chaminda Vaas32040027.534.18
Shaun Pollock29739324.503.67
Glenn McGrath24838122.023.88

From the above table, we can see that Akram has the second best average after Glenn McGrath, and also has an economy rate of under 4 runs an over.

He is also the only pacer in ODI history to have featured in more than 350 ODI matches, which stands testimony to his longevity.

Now, let us have a look at the away records of these five bowling legends in ODI cricket, where more answers will emerge.

The true measure of a bowler’s greatness

Wasim Akram during a test match. (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Akram during a test match. (Credits: Twitter)

In the below table, let us analyse how these five legendary pacers have performed outside the comfort of their countries.For, it is the performances away from home that measures the true greatness of a bowler.

Player NameInningsWicketsAverageStrike RateEconomy
Wasim Akram28643022.2535.13.80
Waqar Younis21634923.9730.64.69
Chaminda Vaas24331927.5338.64.27
Shaun Pollock17220028.6245.13.80
Glenn McGrath15322123.3935.43.95

Wasim Akram is the only bowler in the history of ODI cricket to have picked up more than 400 ODI wickets away from home. Also, he has the lowest economy rate among the five pacers (alongside Pollock). Also, he is the only pacer to average less than 23.00 in an Away matches in ODI cricket.

Why his low average is something to rave about is because despite featuring in the most number of ODI matches amongst the five pacers, Akram still managed to maintain an incredibly low average.

Akram is easily the greatest pacer in the history of ODI cricket, and his incredible numbers stand testimony to this.

1992 World Cup- When Akram Lorded

Wasim Akram was instrumental in Pakistan maiden World Cup Trophy win in 1992. (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Akram was instrumental in Pakistan maiden World Cup Trophy win in 1992. (Credits: Twitter)

1992 will remain a special year for Pakistan cricket. The ‘Men in Green’, lead by the the charismatic Imran Khan won the World Cup for the first and the only time at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. And, one man who played a pivotal part in the World Cup triumph was the legendary Akram.

The left arm pacer took 18 wickets during the tournament, surprising batsmen with his guile and deception.

And, in the final of the multi nation tournament, Akram produced a Man of The Match performance when it mattered the most, picking up 3/49 in his 10 overs.

Throughout the World Cup, Akram averaged a miserly 18.78, and picked up 18 wickets to emerge as the lynch pin of the Pakistani bowling attack.

There has been none like him

Wasim Akram during 2003 World Cup in South Africa. (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Akram during 2003 World Cup in South Africa. (Credits: Twitter)

Wasim Akram was a man whose impeccable control, guile and magic with the cherry in hand mesmerized a whole generation of people in the cricketing world.

He retired more than 17 years ago, but still no pacer except Akram has managed to pick up 500 ODI wickets.

For, as the legendary Brian Lara very rightly said,

“Over my 15 or 16 years of playing international cricket in Tests and One Day Internationals, Wasim Akram is definitely the most complete bowler that I have ever faced.”

Never before, never again. Wasim Akram was a once in a lifetime talent.

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