Wasim Akram ranks Sachin Tendulkar 5th in his list of top batsmen, gives reason for his choice
Akram’s former teammate Basit Ali invited the legend on his Youtube show and gave him names of five batsmen and asked Akram to rank them in terms of their overall ability.Updated: Jun 08, 2020 14:00 IST
Former Pakistan captain and arguably the best left-arm paceman to have played the sport of cricket, Wasim Akram, has given his verdict on the top five batsmen that he either bowled to or played along side. Akram’s former teammate Basit Ali invited the legend on his YouTube show and gave him names of five batsmen and asked Akram to rank them in terms of their overall ability in Test cricket.
Among those Akram picked the legendary West Indies batsman and former captain Sir Vivian Richards on the top spot.
“If you talk about a batsman with an unmatched technique, charisma and someone who had a huge impact on the game, it is Sir Vivian Richards. I have played against all the greats from mid-eighties to the nineties to the 2000s, but Viv Richards was a class apart,” Akram said.
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He then spoke about Indian batting talisman Sachin Tendulkar. Akram said he can’t talk much about Sachin as he and his fast bowling partner Waqar Younis didn’t get a chance to bowl at Sachin in Test cricket when they were at the peak of their respective careers.
“I am keeping Tendulkar aside from this list because we didn’t play Test cricket against him for 10 years. Waqar and I didn’t bowl to him for ten years in Test matches. He came to Pakistan in 1989 as a 16-year old and after that we played against him in 1999.
“I bowled at him at Sharjah in ODIs but Test cricket is different. No doubt he is one of the greats of the game but as a bowler I didn’t bowl to him in my peak and that is why it is difficult for me to judge him,” Akram opined.
He went on to pick former New Zealand captain, the late Martin Crowe, in the second spot.
“At number two I will put Martin Crowe because of his sheer technique. At a time when the world had no idea about how to face reverse swing, he played against us. It was a series where Waqar picked up 30 wickets in three matches and I picked up 16 wickets in one and a half matches as I got injured. Crowe had scored two centuries in that series.
“After the series I asked him how did you play me and Waqar so well. He said ‘I played you and Waqar on the front foot when you guys are bowling in swingers and I didn’t follow the ball that was swinging away and hence I didn’t edge it,” Akram said while remembering his conversation with Crowe.
He went on to pick Brian Lara in the third spot and said that the West Indian was a difficult batsman to bowl at as he was never settled in the crease.
“At number three I will put ‘the prince’, Brian Lara. He was a quality batsman. He was very different and odd to bowl at. His bat would come from various directions. He was never settled and it was difficult to bowl to him,” Akram said.
Akram picked his former teammate Inzamam-ul-Haq in the fourth spot and kept Sachin Tendulkar at number five. For both Inzamam and Sachin, Akram said that he hadn’t bowled to either in the longer format much and hence he won’t be able to judge them as a bowler.