Wasim Akram - Purveyor of Pace
Written by English NewsPaper/Dawn/Others   

Wasim Akram is arguably the most valuable cricketer of his generation.

Genuinely quick bowlers have always been a handful, capable of running shivers down the spines of batsmen and changing the course of a match in the space of a few deliveries, Akram is all that and more. He is, perhaps, the best left-arm pace bowler in cricketing history.

There ace only a few other fast bowlers who have had such a telling impact on the game, and that too over a dozen long years.

Add to that Akram's worth as a batsman, an area where he is yet to deliver to his enormous potential, and he comes out as a cricketer of overwhelming value.
Akram is the only bowler in the world who has 300-plus wickets in both forms of cricket. And in one-dayers, no one else has reached that milestone. Now that he has regained full fitness after an operation on his bowling shoulder, he is all fired up to add significantly to the pile despite the fact that he is now 31 years of age. Given the economy of effort with which he bowls, and the great variety and experience that he possesses, he can be a potent force for at least another three to four years if he stays free of further injury.

Akram has everything that a speedster can possibly aspire to - genuine pace. variety, guile, control and temperament. Even as a teenager, he had greatness written all over him. He had yet to appear in a Test when he was being compared to the legendary Australian Allan Davidson, and Akram confirmed ail the predictions by becoming the yuunger bowler to take 10 wickets in a match in only his second Test.

A natural if there ever was one, Akram was a quick learner from the start.

When all the fast bowlers in the country. him and Waqar Younis included, were learning the tricks of the trade from Imran Khan, he was the first to master the yorker. That added yet another dimension to his lethal repertoire, making him virtually unplayable in the slog overs in one-day cricket and getting him many wickets in the bargain, including two hat-tricks on Sharjah's dead batting tracks.

bwd  Set 1/2  fwd


Wasim Akram's only regret might be that he has not been able to establish himself as an all-rounder of class in the image of his mentor, Imran Khan.

He has shown flashes of brilliance, such as in the 92 World Cup final and the Sheikhupura Test against Zimbabwe when he made 257, but he has never been consistent enough.

Recently reinstalled as captain, his third time stint in the job, he did not live up to expectations during the Golden Jubilee Quadrangular. But that outing came soon after a long lay-off, and even then he was not altogether disappointing. Later, in the first two Tests against the Windies, he seemed to be getting back to his best. In Akram's case, sooner or later, class is bound to show and make all the difference. •

Major teams Pakistan, Hampshire, Lahore, Lancashire, Pakistan Automobiles Corporation, Pakistan International Airlines

Batting style Left-hand bat

Bowling style Left-arm fast


Batting and fielding averages

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 104 147 19 2898 257* 22.64     3 7   57 44 0
ODIs 356 280 55 3717 86 16.52 4208 88.33 0 6     88 0
First-class 257 355 40 7161 257* 22.73     7 24     97 0
List A 594 467 97 6993 89* 18.90     0 17     147 0
Twenty20 5 5 1 55 24 13.75 45 122.22 0 0 6 1 0 0
Bowling averages

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 104 181 22627 9779 414 7/119 11/110 23.62 2.59 54.6 20 25 5
ODIs 356 351 18186 11812 502 5/15 5/15 23.52 3.89 36.2 17 6 0
First-class 257   50277 22549 1042 8/30   21.64 2.69 48.2   70 16
List A 594   29719 19303 881 5/10 5/10 21.91 3.89 33.7 34 12 0
Twenty20 5 5 114 121 8 2/19 2/19 15.12 6.36 14.2 0 0 0

published in Herald, Pakistan in 1997.