The third instalment in our new series where we compare two legendary cricketers from the same generation. Rather than necessarily settle the debate on who is ‘better’, this series attempts to illustrate who had a greater say in dictating his country’s cricketing fortunes. Along the way, you may also find a few facets of these players that are not necessarily discussed in conventional media.
Pakistan have a history of churning out quicks and today, we showcase two of their finest.
Wasim Akram vs Waqar Younis
A comparison of pace bowlers in Test cricket
|PARAMETER||Wasim Akram||Waqar Younis||Maximum or
|Number of Tests||104||87||Courtney Walsh (132)|
|Wickets Taken||414||373||Glenn McGrath (563)|
|Bowling Average||23.62||23.56||Malcolm Marshall (20.94)|
|Percentage of team wickets taken||26%||27%||Richard Hadlee (38.25)|
|Impact at Home (min. 25 Tests)||55||68||Craig McDermott|
|Impact Away (min. 20 Tests)||64||42||Dennis Lillee|
|Impact in Subcontinent (min. 10 Tests)||81||78||Courtney Walsh|
|Impact in Aus/SA (min. 10 Tests)||42||44||Alan Davidson|
|Impact in Eng/NZ (min. 10 Tests)||66||50||Dennis Lillee|
|Failure Rate (min. 50 Tests)||32%||24%||Joel Garner (12%)|
||6 (once every 17 Tests)||1||Richard Hadlee and Dale Steyn (7)|
|Number of high impact performances||16 (once every 6.5 Tests)||13 (once every 7 Tests)||Glenn McGrath (32)|
|Most dominant period in career||June 1992 – December 1995||November 1990 – October 1994||n/a|
|Number of years as highest impact bowler||2 (1992, 1994)||0||Richard Hadlee – 4
(1980, 1984, 1985, 1987)
|Highest impact bowler in a match||15||13||Glenn McGrath
(31 in 124 Tests)
|Highest impact bowler in a series||8 (in 40 Test series)||6 (in 36 Test series)||Richard Hadlee
(10 in 33 Test series)
1) All parameters from ‘
Example: Glenn McGrath has the highest
2) From ‘Bowling Average’ till ‘
3) Only pace bowlers have been considered for this comparison.
Wasim Akram is the second-highest impact bowler in Pakistan’s Test cricket history (min. 50 Tests), behind Imran Khan. Waqar Younis is only sixth (after Imran, Akram, Danish Kaneria, Iqbal Qasim and Abdul Qadir).
Of the two, Akram was – quite emphatically – the bigger series-winner. This is the main reason why he had a higher impact than Younis. In fact, among all Pakistani bowlers (min. 50 Tests), Akram has produced the most number of
Younis was the more prolific wicket-taker (more wickets per match). He also claimed a higher proportion of top/middle-order wickets. Not surprisingly, he has the best bowling strike rate after Dale Steyn (min. 50 Tests) in the history of Test cricket. It is also interesting that Younis – by some margin – was more consistent.
Akram, on the other hand, was highly restrictive.
True to their innate faculties, the pair thrived in various conditions. Younis was more successful at home (where he would reverse swing the old ball), and in Australia and South Africa (where he could pound the deck), while Akram made hay in the swinging conditions of England and New Zealand.
Wasim Akram was known for the variety in his repertoire, while Waqar Younis relied on sheer pace, accuracy and reverse swing. But what really separated the duo was Akram’s ability to win matches and series with the ball and Younis’ lack thereof. This gave the southpaw a higher impact overall despite not being as prolific a wicket-taker as his partner, and neither as consistent.
Illustrations: Vasim Maner