Wasim Akram bowling during the 1999 World Cup.(Getty Images)
Wasim Akram bowling during the 1999 World Cup.(Getty Images)

I asked him ‘What’s your secret?’: Wasim Akram names batsman who played him better than anyone else

Despite troubling batsmen all around the world, Akram reckons there was one player in particular who played his reverse-swing better than anyone else.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com
UPDATED ON AUG 15, 2020 07:30 AM IST

Former Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Wasim Akram was probably the best exponent of reverse swing. In fact, he and his long-time bowling partner for Pakistan, Waqar Younis are considered the two pioneers of the art. They went on to trouble batsmen all around the world, especially Akram, who finished his career as the leading ODI wicket-taker in ODIs by a fast bowler.

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Just type “Wasim Akram’s best reverse swing bowling” on the YouTube search bar and you’ll get an idea what we’re talking about. He’d make the batsmen play the wrong line, hop and try to save their feet to avoid getting hit. However, there was one batsman Akram felt played him better than anyone else: New Zealand great Martin Crowe.

Recalling New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan, where Akram finished with 10 wickets from two Tests – he missed the final Test due to injury – while his partner Waqar was the chief tormentor with 29 wickets. Looking back at the series, Akram revealed how it would just take the first five-six overs for the Pakistan bowlers to generate reverse swing, but while the rest of the New Zealand batsman would struggle, Crowe was pretty hard to get.

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“I think the ball used to get reverse after five-six overs, don’t ask me why,” Akram said on Sky Sports. “It was against New Zealand and Waqar got 30 [29] wickets in three Test matches and I got 16 [10] in two and got injured. Martin Crowe got two hundreds [one hundred] and I asked him after the series, ‘What’s your secret?’ He said, ‘I just try to play you on the front foot and I play for the in-swingers every time and the out-swingers automatically miss the edge.’”

Crowe’s performance, that saw him score 244 runs at an average of 61, was the only highlight of the series for New Zealand. The next highest run-scorer had scored less than half of Crowe’s runs.

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