Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wasim Or Imran?

There's a fascinating little debate going on over at PakPassion, ignited by this piece on Cricinfo that asks the basic question: who is Pakistan's greatest bowler of all time? I loved this nugget:
Some friends and I once had the opportunity to ask Javed Miandad where he stood on the great debate. Miandad's initial response was to insist on framing the question narrowly. So we did: Let's say you're having a net facing Akram and Imran, both of whom are at their peak; who would trouble you more? Miandad closed his eyes and for several seconds and appeared deep in thought. Then he gave his verdict: Akram. Why? Because he could move it both ways with greater skill than Imran. Of course, there's more to bowling greatness than bowling well in the nets, but Miandad wouldn't be dragged into the larger debate.

Some would reason that Miandad probably said that because he hated Wasim slightly less than he hated Imran, but we'll leave that aside and assume he's acting in good faith.

My own view on this is that Wasim had more variety (he could swing it both ways, Imran could only bring it in), had the better bouncer (harder to read because of his action), and was probably quicker at his peak than Imran was at his (though only just). Put differently, I think he had more natural bowling talent than anyone else that has ever put on a Pakistan shirt. But I think Imran was a more dedicated cricketer, he was a smarter bowler, and bowled fewer bad balls (Waz had some real shocking spells, where he'd spray it around and bowl a bunch of no balls and snatch his cap back from the umpire). He was probably a more effective bowler than Wasim. But I am confident in stating that batsmen -- like Javed above -- would prefer to face Imran at his peak than Waz at his peak.


Anonymous said...

I think another interesting - and not unrelated- question would be : who was the bigger ball tamperer?

Pak-Fan said...

or match fixer?

No more gay jokes for me :(((((

zeyd said...

Agree with most of your points and whilst Imran couldn't move it away, he did have the ability to get it to just about hold it's line. And when you're darting the ball in about 3 feet (in the air and off the pitch) and can get one to hold, that's a frickin nightmare for batsmen.

Coming back to the simple choice of who's a better bowler, perhaps you answered it by mentioning Wasim's wayward spells? When he was on, he was certainly our (and possibly the worlds) best, but when he was off, god damn dude, he was all over the place; the outswinger would end up at 2nd slip, and the inswinger would fly down to fine leg for 4. Poor Moin/Rashid would be diving around all over the place.

Imran, on the other hand, was almost always on, he gave you nothing, the relentless fucker. Also his presence (and that run-up and action - truly orgasmic) added to his prestige, similar to the fear Viv would install with his strut.

On a personal note, I can't remember, but dude, were you there at CCP when the national team came for a net session? It must have been around 94-95? Anyways, I remember Wasim steaming in to Salim and Inzi, and you know what made him even more dangerous? The fucker was overstepping the line by about 2 feet!

takhalus said...

purely as a bowler and at his peak probably wasim. In general terms Imran..

Rishad said...

Guys, how can we leave Ata-ur-Rehman out of this debate?!

Ahsan said...


That would be Imran. Waz had cameras trained on him for the second half of his career like eagle eyes.


Yes, the match-fixing thing has really tainted Waz's legacy. He will never be number one in Pakistani hearts because of it.


Haha I was at CCP during that time but I obviously missed this session, else I would have remembered it and talked about it non-stop!


Yeah, the comparison is only on bowling terms.


Hahaha. Touche. A number of cricinfo's commenters are vouching for Waqar, which proves that they know nothing about the game. Waqar was a great bowler, but he wasn't in Wasim's class.

Pak-Fan said...

Ahsan are you mad at me for making that gay joke ? :((

karachi khatmal said...

i think there is one aspect of this debate we are all missing out on...


imran was really good, but i doubt if any of the commenters here were old enough to see him bowling at his peak, which was the early 80s. so all we have is stats and random youtube and pakistan sports clips to go on. so all we know for sure was that he had a great inswinger. now describing it in detail, like zeyd has done, makes it sound pretty insane. but makhaya ntini can do the exact same thing really, and he's no wasim akram.

from what we can desipher from our limited knowledge of imran, he was bloody minded, and brilliantly astute. so like the slightly over wieght, nerdy guy at school, he was always trying his darndest.

wasim, was a fuckin' sex-god who had sex dripping from him. which meant he never needed to try. which meant he could get sloppy. but when he was hard and ready to go, he could fuck the best of them.

also, i take offence to the waqar comment. he was fucking incredible as well. i'm sorry, but you can't just dismiss him like that.

also also, wasim will ALWAYS be number one. in our hearts, match fixing or not. if you don't agree, four words.

allan lamb, chris lewis.

top that motherfuckaahs.

FZ said...

I think Waqar at his peak may be compared to Wasim at his peak....the difference is Wasim was at his peak for more than a decade and Waqar for only a few years. It would still be Wasim for me by a country mile though but you could at least have the conversation.

FZ said...

btw the five sweetest words in the english language:

"subtract Lewis from that list"...

Ahsan said...


I don't believe you compared/put in the same sentence Ntini and Imran. I can't respond to the rest of your comment because frankly I couldn't get past that.


I don't think so. Waqar would often run out of ideas against the best of the best. If his yorker and pace didn't get him wickets, he wouldn't look that threatening (aside from 89-92). Wasim, by contrast, had the whole package. He was the complete fast bowler.

And yes, good call on the five words. So good, in fact, that it's going on the banner for the next few days.

karachi khatmal said...

@ ahsan

egad! the academic in you hates such flippant comments. allow me to explain. my point was that, gleaned from youtube videos, imran was an impressive bowler, but really seemed to have one kind of arsenal at his disposal. undoubtedly he was great at it. so he's kinda like abrar-ul-haq, whose made some of the biggest, and even greatest hits.

but wasim is like clapton. you know he's a genius, and that he's troubled. but he can give you the young rocker form the Yardbirds, to part of the virtuosos at Cream, to trying to and being rejected by the Band, before completely changing himself yet again when he went back to playing the blues in their barest forms.

as you can see, there are many similarities between those two.

i also hope you would appreciate the makhaya ntini = imran khan = abrar-ul-haq, although since my maths is weak, i must explain that i don't mean ntini is like abrar.

Heaven Forbid!

Anonymous said...

KK shut the hell up. And stop cursing. It used to be cool in school now its just crude and extremely unclassy. How old are you? 16?

FZ said...


Anonymous said...

"top that motherfuckaahs."

Saying that makes you real cool. What a macho man you must be. Calm down and show some civility.

Anonymous said...

"top that motherfuckaahs."

Saying that makes you real cool. What a macho man you must be. Calm down and show some civility.

karachi khatmal said...

@ Anon

who died and made you head of moral police? typical, self-righteous imran khan fan - when logic fails you resort to moralizing.

pray tell, do you have an opinion, or have you appointed yourself as guarantor of internet civility? because if you have buddy, i'm afraid i'm the least of your problems.

B said...


I <3 karachi Khatmal.

Anonymous said...

Stop polluting our space with your immaturity. Take your juvenile ideas of what makes 'cool' and impose them somewhere else; preferably on youtube videos because that's where most of your kind hangs out. No moral police will follow you there I promise.

Anonymous said...

"typical, self-righteous imran khan fan - when logic fails you resort to moralizing. "

Clearly you spout so much filth that it has severely damaged your ability to read and comprehend. Where did I mention that I am an Imran Khan fan. Logic hasn't failed me, but decency and maturity sure have failed you.