Sunday, August 7, 2022

Wasim Akram opens up on rift with Waqar Younis: ‘We had differences. Our mood will be on and off

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were one of the fastest bowling opening pair in world cricket. In the 1990s, West Indies had Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, South Africa had Alan Donald and Shaun Pollock, Australia had Glenn McGrath and Damien Fleming. But no pair was as deadly as the two ‘W’s – Wasim and Waqar. But what started as a loving friendship turned into a hostile feud in the 1990s. Much has been said about their coolness towards each other, with Akram himself saying in 2007 that there was a period when he and Waqar did not talk both on and off the field.

Akram, the former Pakistan captain, began his rivalry with Waqar saying that though things were cold between the two, neither one wanted the other to do well. In fact, Wasim termed the feud as a healthy and competitive rivalry, one that, in fact, benefited Pakistan cricket as both wanted to outperform each other.

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“We had differences. When you are 23-24 years old, it happens. But we always had healthy competition. We never thought badly of each other. We don’t want the other to not take a wicket. In fact, if one used to take five wickets, the other would say ‘I want to get five too’. And that also happened (against New Zealand). So there was always a healthy rivalry, but our mood would be on and off. Sometimes it was because of teammates too. Sometimes they would praise one another, other times, Akram said in ‘To Be Honest’ show of ‘Nashapati Prime’.

Between Wasim and Waqar, things reached a boiling point, as noted by Shoaib Akhtar in his 1999 biography ‘Controversially Yours’. Akhtar wrote, “We lost the Delhi Test and Wasim got into an argument with Waqar. It got so bad that a rumor started spreading that Waqar was to be sent back home.”

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“But the whole team left for Kolkata for the first Test of the championship. Inside the dressing room, things got worse. I don’t remember it was ever as tense as it was then. Both the seniors were at war and we Were young and new team. Everyone was tense,” Akhtar wrote.

Today, it seems the two have buried the hat-trick and have great respect for each other. The two have appeared together on Pakistan’s talk show ‘A Sports’ during the T20 World Cup and recently Waqar congratulated Akram on his induction into the PCB Hall of Fame.


Nation World News Desk
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