Sharjah: Ask the top batsmen from the generation of Tendulkar & Co. as to which bowler they found most difficult to face, chances are the most common answer will be Wasim Akram. At the other end of the spectrum, whom has Akram found most difficult to dismiss?
Speaking to Gulf News at the Sharjah Book Fair, Akram revealed: “I have bowled at many a great batsmen but my prize wicket will remain as that of Sunil Gavaskar, one of the greatest openers.
"If anyone is keen to learn proper batting technique, then one should watch Gavaskar who batted without helmet and was always right on top.”
Akram considered it to be a privilege to have played against many entertainers of the game and ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi was one among them. He narrated an incident when he was the captain.
“Many times I had asked him to start hitting only after getting a feel of the pitch and bowlers, but Afridi will hit the first ball boom for a boundary, the second ball too the same way. So once I asked him why he is unable to follow my instruction and he said: “Once I reach the middle I cannot control, after all I am a Pathan.”
Akram spoke about Sachin Tendulkar as “a great guy, a true master of the game. No controversy despite a long career. It has only been cricket for him on and off the field. The best cricketer the world has seen”.
Asked to comment about Virat Kohli, he said: “Kohli is the modern great. Thirty-two one-day hundreds, and that too most of his hundreds in second innings for a winning cause and that shows the greatness of this player.”
Akram, meanwhile, is delighted with the progress of the Pakistan team. “Pakistan is in the right direction. We have a good young leader in Sarfraz Ahmad. Some say Sarfraz shows his emotions, but remember, he is young and he is learning. It is difficult to hide your emotions when things are not going well. You learn to hide it with experience. With time he will become an ideal captain. He is very involved and leads from the front and that is why he is doing so well as a leader.”
When asked why isn’t he coaching the Pakistan team, Akram said: “Pakistan is today the champion of the champions and No. 1 in T20 format so why should I be the coach? I am willing to help anyone. I have given tips to India’s Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan and as a sportsman I will help anyone whoever comes to me asking for tips. I don’t care whether he is from Pakistan, India or Bangladesh.”
Akram concluded with a great tip for bowlers of all variety. “As a bowler, you must run in to bowl with three plans: Plan A, B and C. You must see if a batsmen is giving you room, or if he is going across or charging.
"You must have three different deliveries in your mind, and that is what great bowlers do; they do not keep bowling at one spot. One must remember that T20 is a game where bowlers are paid to get hammered.”