Former Pakistan pace wizard Wasim Akram is widely deemed as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. In-swing, out-swing, reverse-swing, yorker, bouncer – the left-armer had everything in his armoury to terrorize any batsmen in the world during his playing days.
In particular, Akram used to bring his ‘A’ game against the arch-rival India. Wasim had scalped 45 wickets at an average of 28.86 in 12 Tests against India while he took 60 wickets at 25.15 a piece in 48 ODIs against the same opposition. No wonder, quite a few India batsmen rate Wasim Akram as the toughest bowler they have faced in their career.
However, as per the excerpt from former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar’s newly released autobiography titled ‘Imperfection’, there was one batsman in his era who often used to wonder why other batsmen found Wasim so tough to play. And that batsman is none other than the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar.
“The story of Tendulkar hitting Qadir out of the park is also quite well known, but I saw the best of Tendulkar in those matches when he played Wasim Akram. Perhaps Tendulkar played more freely on such occasions, considering these were not ODIs. Tendulkar versus Wasim with both at their prime is perhaps the best rivalry that never was. Those matches were not on TV, but from my ringside view I saw Tendulkar dominate Wasim,” Manjrekar quoted in his autobiography shared on ESPNcricinfo.
“I remember how Mudassar Nazar observed during one such exhibition match - the best slog-overs bowler in the world was hit all over the park by Tendulkar quite effortlessly. Tendulkar will never boast openly, but he used to often wonder why other batsmen found Wasim so tough to play. I used to think, 'Because you are not like other batsmen, Sachin.'” it further stated.
Manjrekar’s remarks are not entirely illogical considering the fact that Tendulkar had shared quite a few eye-grabbing battles with Akram during his 24-year long illustrious career and has managed to dominate him on several occasions.
Let’s take a look at some of the classic battles between Akram and Tendulkar: