Wasim Akram opens up on rift with Waqar Younis: 'We had our differences. Our moods would remain on and off'
What started as a loving friendship between Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis turned into a hostile feud in the 1990s.
Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were one of the greatest fast-bowling opening pairs of world cricket. In the 1990s, West Indies had Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, South Africa had Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock, Australia had Glenn McGrath and Damien Fleming. But no duo was as lethal as the two 'W's – Wasim and Waqar. But what started as a loving friendship turned into a hostile feud in the 1990s. A lot has been spoke of about their coldness towards each other, with Akram himself saying in 2007 that there was a period where he and Waqar were not on talking terms both on and off the field.
Akram, the former Pakistan captain, opened up his rivalry with Waqar, saying that although things were frosty between the two, neither wanted the other to not perform well. In fact, Wasim termed the feud it a healthy and competitive rivalry, one that in fact, benefitted Pakistan cricket as both wanted to outperform the other.
"We had our differences. When you are 23-24 years old, it happens. But there was always healthy competition between us. We never used to think bad about each other. We wouldn't want the other to not pick wickets. In fact, if one used to pick five wickets, the other would say 'I too would want to get five'. And that happened too (against New Zealand). So there always was a healthy rivalry, but our moods would remain on and off. Sometimes it also happened because of teammates. Sometimes they would praise one, other times the other," Akram said on the 'To Be Honest' show by 'Nashpati Prime'.
Between Wasim and Waqar, things reached a boiling point, in 1999 as Shoaib Akhtar mentioned in his biography 'Controversially Yours'. "We lost the Delhi Test and Wasim got into an argument with Waqar. It got so bad that a rumour started doing the rounds that Waqar was to be sent back home," Akhtar had written.
"But the entire squad left for Kolkata for the first Test of the Championship. Inside the dressing room, things got uglier. I do not remember it ever being as tense as it was then. The two seniors were at war and we were a young and fresh team. Everyone was stressed out," Akhtar had written."
Today, the two seem to have buried the hatchet and have immense respect for the other. The two have appeared together in Pakistan's Talk Show 'A Sports' during the T20 World Cup and not too long ago, Waqar even congratulated Akram on his PCB Hall of Fame induction.