Saad Shafqat September 9, 2009

Wasim Akram v Imran Khan

The opening gambit is almost always the same, namely that Wasim Akram, who was once described as possessing the left arm of God, could move the ball both ways, sometimes in the same delivery
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Like a wildfire spewing flames towards the sky, it erupts uncontrollably when the mix is right. All you need are a few passionate and opinionated Pakistan fans, an atmosphere of spirited contention, and someone willing to light the match. As you can imagine, in Pakistan this isn't asking for much, and so the great debate erupts frequently and fervently.

Most people know instinctively which side they are on, and positions are staked out right away. The few, who start out genuinely neutral, discover very soon they are anything but. Before long, emotions rise to a crescendo and tempers begin to simmer. The exchange becomes intense, headed towards intractability.

The opening gambit is almost always the same, namely that Wasim Akram, who was once described as possessing the left arm of God, could move the ball both ways, sometimes in the same delivery. Footage of Akram swinging it like a yo-yo has left legions speechless, so this point is naturally impossible to refute. It can only be countered by a parallel argument which, if it is to survive the heat of debate, must be based on hard data.

This is usually the time for Imran Khan loyalists to respond with a trusted opening move of their own. Imran finished his Test career with a better bowling average than Akram - 362 wickets at 22.81 compared with Akram's 414 at 23.62. It's not a huge divide - Imran only gave 0.81 runs less per wicket than Akram - but over careers spanning two decades, such a sustained separation becomes significant. Imran's Test strike rate (53.7) and economy (2.54) are also better than Akram's (54.6 and 2.59); again, not by much, but Imran does come out ahead.

Akram's supporters know they cannot win if the battle moves to statistics. Although Akram's ODI figures (502 wickets at 23.52, SR 36.2, econ 3.89) are better than Imran's (182 wickets at 26.61, SR 40.9, econ 3.89), Imran's career was already half-over before ODI cricket at the international level really took off. Akram, by contrast, arrived when the ODI circuit had come into full bloom.

The argument for Akram's supremacy needs a visceral approach. In Pakistani cricket gatherings, it doesn't get more visceral than evoking the memory of March 25, 1992. Everyone who saw those two deliveries that castled Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis were astounded, and even today, if you watch them on YouTube, you cannot help shaking your head. Timing adds to the mystique - the two best deliveries of Akram's career, and what a moment to produce them.

Imran's camp fully understands the emotional weight of this appeal. They reach deep into their arsenal and come up with Christmas Day 1982. This is no ordinary reference: late afternoon in Karachi; the ball begins to reverse as the breeze blows in from the sea; Imran takes five Indian wickets for three runs in the space of 25 balls; which included Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil, and Kapil Dev. It's a formidable counter-response, but it can only go so far. A Test match (even one against India) is not the same as the final of the World Cup.

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.

On another occasion, my fellow Cricinfo blogger Kamran Abbasi and I once found ourselves in the company of Sanjay Manjrekar and Ramiz Raja. This was in Multan during a Pakistan-Bangladesh Test that happened to be going through a rather dull period. Sure enough, someone lit the match, and arguments came pouring forth. Ramiz was championing Akram and his view ultimately prevailed, but it wasn't pretty.

It is probably true that Akram die-hards outnumber Imran's supporters in the great debate, and they also tend to be more passionate. Those who argue for Imran tend to be more clinical and academic, probably because the arguments in favour of Imran are themselves rather clinical and academic.

Most people acknowledge that Imran was a more committed bowler, who never gave less than 100%. Akram, for better or worse, is still remembered as the kind of guy who could pull up with a side strain on the morning of a World Cup quarter-final. Imran bowled many overs through a stress fracture of the shin. For about a year and a half - the second half of 1983 and all of 1984 - this injury robbed him of his best bowling days. Who knows how much more he would have achieved without this unfortunate interlude.

There is also the matter of opposition quality. Imran didn’t play any Tests against the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and played a total of only two ODIs against them. But in Akram's case, 47 of his Test wickets (at 22.36) and 42 of his ODI wickets (at 20.92) have come from these teams.

For an amicable end to the great debate, you need a few people around who are willing to accept that the question of whether Akram or Imran was the greater bowler is complex and many-faceted. I was recently at a dinner party where the mood was right and the debate was kindled yet again. Arguments followed a predictable trajectory, and before long the dialogue had become intransigent. Our host, a moderate cricket follower skilled at diplomacy, brought closure when he said Akram was the greater bowler, but Imran was no less. I have memorised that line for the next iteration of the great debate.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • A.B Mughees on April 4, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    simply the gretest

  • gallant cricket on November 5, 2009, 19:14 GMT

    The comparison of Imran and Wasim seem to confuse majority of the readers here, making it a popularity contest. Their comparison as bowlers should be based on performance. It should be free of personal liking and should not be based on who you love more.

    Undoubtedly Imran and Wasim are the two stars in the history of the game of cricket. I have seen, observed and studied them– a lot of the posters have not seen much of Imran.

    Wasim is the best left arm fast bowlers to bowl on the planet. Imran, on the other hand is Imran, who makes any world eleven based on is bowling alone. In fact their difference is very little. But if we must pick one, it has to be Imran. Imran is rated number 3 in all time ICC ratings while Wasim is number 59. Moreover, Imran played with more formidable opponents and his most wickets are top batsman. Imran also had greater determination and fighting spirit. If Imran is 100, then Wasim is 98 and Waqar is 97.

  • Jawad Joji on November 3, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    No doubt about Wasim Akram, he is the best even in a cricketing history :) We love him ........

  • Muhammad on November 2, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    In my opinion comparing Imran and Akram is not feasible, both were greats of all time, skill,attitude,art and lethality. but if necessity to compare as a bowler i will definately go with Wasim who has mastered the art of fast bowling with share variation and art.

  • Muhammad on November 2, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    In my opinion comparing Imran and Akram is not feasible, both were greats of all time, skill,attitude,art and lethality. but if necessity to compare as a bowler i will definately go with Wasim who has mastered the art of fast bowling with share variation and art.

  • Adnan on November 1, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    ONly "Waqar Younis" is the greatest pakistani fast bowler.He has best strike -rate in TESTS for pakistan. His strike-rate is way better than "Glen Mcgrath;Ambrose;DONALD;Wasim;Marshall;Garner;ETC.. He was is & will be the greatest pakistani fast bowler.

  • sarfraz ali shah on October 31, 2009, 14:45 GMT

    aksram nd imran r the world greatest all rounder in the world but comparison between imran nd akram imran is the best

  • waterbuffalo on October 31, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    I wish Pakistan had a captain like Imran now. I don't think Pakistan will ever win the world Cup again and I don't think Pakistan will ever challenge the Aussies like they did the Windies in the 80's. The reason we did not lose a series for 19 years in England was because of the attitude Imran inculcated in the team. I don't see another strong captain for Pakistan for decades. The sight of Shoaib Malik makes me sick.

  • Faraz Siddiqui on October 29, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Better fast bowler - Wasim Akram. period. Better cricket - Imran Khan. period. Why? Because Imran picked, mentored and left behind the likes of Wasim, Waqar, Inzamam etc.

    Ever since Imran, most captains have only left behind dis-integrated team of talented players. I

  • Ali Hussain on October 28, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    Countless arguments about this, if we are just talking about bowling and bowling alone...no one who has played the game comes close to Wasim's skill with a cricket ball - I was reading in an article before that its quite insulting to him to be labelled as "the best left arm bowler ever" - this is without doubt unless of course you count Alan Mullaly and Brendon Julian....in my view having seen him since the Botham/Lewis/Lamb day for the whole of his career....I can honestly say he is the greatest bowler I have ever seen bar none. My dad who saw Imran throughout his cricketing career agrees and it was a sin to even mention anything negative about the great Imran Khan in our house! The two best cricketers Pakistan ever produced...

  • A.B Mughees on April 4, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    simply the gretest

  • gallant cricket on November 5, 2009, 19:14 GMT

    The comparison of Imran and Wasim seem to confuse majority of the readers here, making it a popularity contest. Their comparison as bowlers should be based on performance. It should be free of personal liking and should not be based on who you love more.

    Undoubtedly Imran and Wasim are the two stars in the history of the game of cricket. I have seen, observed and studied them– a lot of the posters have not seen much of Imran.

    Wasim is the best left arm fast bowlers to bowl on the planet. Imran, on the other hand is Imran, who makes any world eleven based on is bowling alone. In fact their difference is very little. But if we must pick one, it has to be Imran. Imran is rated number 3 in all time ICC ratings while Wasim is number 59. Moreover, Imran played with more formidable opponents and his most wickets are top batsman. Imran also had greater determination and fighting spirit. If Imran is 100, then Wasim is 98 and Waqar is 97.

  • Jawad Joji on November 3, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    No doubt about Wasim Akram, he is the best even in a cricketing history :) We love him ........

  • Muhammad on November 2, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    In my opinion comparing Imran and Akram is not feasible, both were greats of all time, skill,attitude,art and lethality. but if necessity to compare as a bowler i will definately go with Wasim who has mastered the art of fast bowling with share variation and art.

  • Muhammad on November 2, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    In my opinion comparing Imran and Akram is not feasible, both were greats of all time, skill,attitude,art and lethality. but if necessity to compare as a bowler i will definately go with Wasim who has mastered the art of fast bowling with share variation and art.

  • Adnan on November 1, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    ONly "Waqar Younis" is the greatest pakistani fast bowler.He has best strike -rate in TESTS for pakistan. His strike-rate is way better than "Glen Mcgrath;Ambrose;DONALD;Wasim;Marshall;Garner;ETC.. He was is & will be the greatest pakistani fast bowler.

  • sarfraz ali shah on October 31, 2009, 14:45 GMT

    aksram nd imran r the world greatest all rounder in the world but comparison between imran nd akram imran is the best

  • waterbuffalo on October 31, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    I wish Pakistan had a captain like Imran now. I don't think Pakistan will ever win the world Cup again and I don't think Pakistan will ever challenge the Aussies like they did the Windies in the 80's. The reason we did not lose a series for 19 years in England was because of the attitude Imran inculcated in the team. I don't see another strong captain for Pakistan for decades. The sight of Shoaib Malik makes me sick.

  • Faraz Siddiqui on October 29, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Better fast bowler - Wasim Akram. period. Better cricket - Imran Khan. period. Why? Because Imran picked, mentored and left behind the likes of Wasim, Waqar, Inzamam etc.

    Ever since Imran, most captains have only left behind dis-integrated team of talented players. I

  • Ali Hussain on October 28, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    Countless arguments about this, if we are just talking about bowling and bowling alone...no one who has played the game comes close to Wasim's skill with a cricket ball - I was reading in an article before that its quite insulting to him to be labelled as "the best left arm bowler ever" - this is without doubt unless of course you count Alan Mullaly and Brendon Julian....in my view having seen him since the Botham/Lewis/Lamb day for the whole of his career....I can honestly say he is the greatest bowler I have ever seen bar none. My dad who saw Imran throughout his cricketing career agrees and it was a sin to even mention anything negative about the great Imran Khan in our house! The two best cricketers Pakistan ever produced...

  • Ali on October 28, 2009, 10:06 GMT

    Since, the debate is only about being a better bowler (and not about being a better cricketer) Wasim may win few more points than Imran. But remember, even as a bowler, Imran made Pakistan bowling as it is today. When he retired, he left Pakistan team with great bowlers like, Wasim, Waqar, Aqib, Mushtaq and many to come. Wasim on the other hand bowled only for himself. Many young bowlers have said that they did not get the support and guidance from him or Waqar and knowledge was kept secret. I personally consider Wasim a wonderful bowler and its mesmerizing to watch him bowl. But he is not among the great ones. He is not the one who brings greatness to it. I would even give considerable credit for his famous two balls in 1992 final to Imran, who as a bowler brought him on for that. Why Wasim failed to produce any of those balls ever again, when he had the chance. Contrarily he opted to sit out on those occasions.

  • Hussain on October 28, 2009, 8:03 GMT

    If you boil the question down to "Who was the best bowler at his peak?" The answer has got to be Waqar Younis. Waqar of early 90s looked likely to take a wicket every ball; nobody since has matched his level of lethality. Unfortunately when Waqar was at his peak, Pakistan did not play India very much, which is why most Indians rate Waqar unfavorably with Wasim. Undoubtedly Waqar in the late 90s and early 2000s was not the same bowler he was at his peak. Meanwhile, Wasim remained close to his best till the very end of his career. Imran in my opinion was a slightly lesser bowler than both Ws but his allround skills and presence on the field make him Pakistan's most complete cricketer.

  • irfan on October 27, 2009, 22:47 GMT

    They were both great artists in their field, but Imran unlike Wasim never had a question mark or allegations of match fixing. One things for certain Imran would have made an excellent commentator he was elequent, Wasim great bowler though he was is a poor speaker

  • Murshid Khan on October 27, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    Both Imran and Akram are great in their own domain.There should not be any comparison.Imran was a superior allrounder while as far as bowling is concerned ,I think Akram has got an edge.Both are very very and God gifted cricketer who served their country and cricet world nicely.That"s why ICC put both of them in the Hall of fame.

  • amir khan on October 27, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    i think that MUHAMMAD AMIR CAN BE A GREAT BOWLER THEN WASIM AND WAQAR

  • Murtaza Hussain on October 27, 2009, 7:22 GMT

    "Wasim or McGrath" McGrath was a verry good bowler but he had only line and lenth, but Wasim Akram had every thing in his bowling. I don´t know why we have always debate "wasim v imram", "who is better" and "who is no.1" sort of those things, every body know that all those players who played at hightest level they were and are best, thats why they are there. Every body has thire favorrit players, thats why they are better, mine best are... in batting IV RICHARDS, BRIAN LARA, in fast bowling WASIM AKRAM and MD MARSHAL, in spin bowling SHANE WARNE and M MURALITHARAN, as an all rounder IAN BOTHAM and GARRY SOBERS.

  • AZHAR JANJUA on October 27, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    I have read all comments but I did not come through a comment like there is no comparison between father and son like no comparison between a teacher and pupil, so Sir Imran Khan is always on top ever look his rythematic run up ,look his walking and running in the feild , look his batting stance ,look his dilevering ball at the popping creaze , look his tempramental attitude in the field , I mean its remarkable and off course face expression like a mature and enthusiastic human being , its God gifted and he always looks to be complete cricketer. up till now he has no problem with his health and even now he looks ready to play. Yes there would be comparison you can make between Thw 2 W's Waqar and Wasim cause Sir Imran Khan is always on top. He is a father of Waqar and Wasim in cricket , he taught them how to deliver for perfection. I am sure Mr. Wasim is a better bowler than Mr.Waqar. Anyway all 3 are my heart favourites.

  • Shahid on October 26, 2009, 17:56 GMT

    Here is another debate i have always had "Who is better, Wasim or McGrath"

  • Shahid on October 26, 2009, 17:54 GMT

    Well i have been through a lot of such debates. I would just say this "Imran didnt have a teacher as waseem did (that was Imran Himself). Waseem did learn a great deal of bowling from Imran. In terms of skills, Waseem was definitely a better bowler but Imran was no less :)

  • huzaifah on October 26, 2009, 17:53 GMT

    I THINK ITS WASIM AKRAM GREAT IN BOWLING BUT AS A ALLROUNDER AND LEADER IMRAN KHAN WAS BEST.IMRAN AND WASIM WERE BOTH GOD GIFTED PLAYERS FOR PAKISTAN.NOW A DAYS ITS MOHAMMED AMMIR AS BEST PAKISTANI FAST BOWLER.AAMIR IS YOUNG(17 YEAR)TALENTED PLAYER AND GOD GIFTED PLAYER.ONE DAY HE WILL BREAK RECORDS OF WASIM AKRAM,MURLI DARHAN,BRETT LEA,MICHEAL JOHNSON AND OTHER BEST BOWLERS.

  • saif on October 26, 2009, 15:19 GMT

    imran khan is the best ever 2nd w.younis 3rd w.akram

  • furqan on October 24, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    Waseim Akram was the greatest ever as compare to Imran. Akram was Mucccccccccccccccch much better than Imran. But Imran was a greatest leader no doubt!!! But Pakitan will never produce a bowler like Wasim Akram again. Because he was a GOD GIFTED bowler for Pakistan.

  • Murtaza Mussain on October 22, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Wasim akram was ever best bowler, then any body in cricket history. he is unmached.

  • Kamal on October 21, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    Wasim was a Best Bowler, Abdul Qadir was a Best Spinner and Imran was a best All Rounder :)

  • Abdullah Akhter on October 16, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Wasim Akram was a great bolwer, but imran's luck was great as far as a cricketer was concern.

  • fawad on October 16, 2009, 7:02 GMT

    Waseem Akram is a best bowler of the world .Pakistan needz bowler like waseem akram . imran khan 2 good bowler !

  • BURHAN UL HAQ on October 16, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    where is shoaib akhtar? a bowler who send the strongest batting lines of the world to the pavilion in 2 or 3 overs many a time?

  • Shaik Taher(Hyderabad India Aliabad) on October 15, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    Wasim Akram is best player. no one can produce like this type of cirketer.

  • AMAN SALMAN from new york on October 15, 2009, 13:59 GMT

    Waseem Akram was a better bowler but Imran Khan was a Great Leader ,Imran can lead and achieve any goal .

  • Zeeshan on October 15, 2009, 13:31 GMT

    If were talking about who was the better bowler than obviously you'd say Wasim bhai, but if you were asking whose the better player over all all-rounder wise its always going to be Imran Khan bhai. Imran Khan is a legend of the game as is Wasim Akram but Imran Khan is the best all rounder and captain the game has ever produced. Both of the men in question make me feel proud to be called a Pakistani

  • Jill on October 15, 2009, 12:20 GMT

    Wasim too is a great bowler, undoubtedly, but it has to be Imran all the way. Problem with my generation is that they ve witnessed Wasim but almost nothing of Imran (except 1992 - vague memories) Pakistani fast bowling owes everything to Imran and besides it's not only his bowling that makes him what he is - it was his determination, positive attitude, shear determination, absolute decisiveness at the defining moments and above all to never "give up" attitude that pretty much shaped the present face of Pakistani fast bowling.

  • Shahzad Anjum on October 14, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    I think Wasim is far more better than Imran as a bowler. No bowler in this world is equal to Wasim as to ability to deliver six different deliveries in an over and many more

  • muhammad bilal on October 14, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    Wasim is much better and fast bowler than Imran.

  • Emraan on October 13, 2009, 23:51 GMT

    Mostly Wasim hunted the Lower Order But Imran's area was Top Order. Wasim was God Gift Imran was selfmade. Wasim had mix of deliveries Imran had Lenght and Pace. I think Imran was better bowler and real model for fast bowling chain

  • Zuhaeer Islam on October 13, 2009, 20:47 GMT

    I am a Bangladeshi. Let me tell you, there was a time, when WAQAR was simply awesome! His every single delivery with his fearsome look seemed to have given him a wicket, whosoever be the batsman. Simply incredible! I dare not undermine Imran or Wasim, Miandad or Zaheer, but I am amazed at the chasm/lethality of WAQAR's pace. I recall WAQAR with a sweet sadness as he got injured; otherwise he could have given much more to Pakistan Cricket. Now you see his sheer skill in commentary --- simply superb is his articulation / accent and analysis.

  • Jawwadul Islam on October 13, 2009, 20:33 GMT

    I reckon Imran to have an edge over Akram. His determination, decisiveness at the defining moments particularly against the arch rival India was superb. Imran is Imran. But Wasim is also a great factor in Pakistan cricket's success story. Why don't you think about Zaved Miandad and Zaheer Abbas? May Allah bless all of them.

  • yousaf mushtaq on October 12, 2009, 14:45 GMT

    at full throttle, with the wind behind his back, fire in his bell and the cherry in his hand(albeit a little scuffed up) WAQAR was THE most devastating fast bowler.

  • muhammad imran bhatti on October 12, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    wasim akram is legend crickter he is fantastic bowler and batsman he is intresting to watchand imran also a good player he is winner of world cup which is biggest achievement for any captain

  • Umer on October 11, 2009, 11:30 GMT

    Wasim is one of the best bowlers and probably THE BEST BOWLER that Pakistan has ever produced. However, Imran khan is undoubtedly THE BEST & DARING CAPTAIN that Pakistan is blessed with. Also, we CANNOT ignore what Imran Khan has given to Pakistan as a captain. Aqib, Waqar, Wasim, Miandad and the list continues. I would say it is Imran who found the winning combination for the team.In a nutshell, Imran is a great leader and Wasim a great bowler.

  • Zomma on October 11, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    I once bumped into Sunil Gavaskar in London in the nintees and asked him exactly the same question since he had faced both. He didnt need to shut his eyes for even a second and said "Imran !". But Wasim and Waqar are really quick, I repiled. Yes they are but Imran was much more hostile and kept coming at you". This coming from the guy who had faced the fastest and best of all and with the new ball and without a helmet proves a lot. In fact arguably the greatest batsmen of all times and blaster of all fast bowlers Viv Richards in his book on Cricket coaching in the 90s wrote one line that again highlighted the point. He wrote "the only time when he ever went back and across to a bowler before the ball was deliverd was to Imran Khan when playing for Queensland againt Pakistan in the 80s. It just gives you that fraction of a second more to see the ball !" If still in doubt, watch the highlights of Pak vs Eng 1982 and Pak vs Eng 1992 to judge for yourselves. Otherwise, memories are fickle!

  • fayaz on October 10, 2009, 7:58 GMT

    comparision is biased,without waqar. comparision shall be made between two W,S. imran is lagend and father of both. so please take the issue professionally.

  • Shankar on October 8, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    Kris Srikanth was one of the most unorthodox batsman who could belt any bowler all over the park on his day. I remember he destroyed Imran and Abdul Qadir in Chennai and Calcutta. But Kris in an interview mentioned that he could never read Wasim Akram even on his best days. Srikanth used to watch the ball and the bowlers hands and used to play premeditated shots, which worked with technically proficient bowlers but Akram with his natural style, and not exposing the ball till the moment he delivered had srikanth stumped. Not only this as an Indian Supporter I always felt on the edge when Wasim bowled. Imran was a great bowler and great cricketer, but Wasim surely was the better bowler

  • Umair on October 7, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    I think both were great cricket players and were joy to watch..Imran was intelligent and a great strategy man with his cricketing acumen making him a cricketing legend and a role model to all aspiring cricketers. Also his galmorous looks made him a hero both on and off the field..personally i have seen more of akram Cricketing exlpoits but i would sau Imran was way ahead...Imran was mentor upon whom all players looked upon and greatest captain pakistan ever produced.. Akram on the other hand was a joy to watch Sultan of swing bowling and his explosive late order batting...Best left arm fast bowler world has ever seen and a watch winner.. Both are legends but Imran still remains a taller figure..

  • Sohel31 on October 6, 2009, 18:07 GMT

    I think Both of them are great crickter.But Imran Khan is who is Brilliant on bowling on tripical match condition.1992 Worldcup is example of this>He is also brilliant with bat. Wasim is superb with bowl.Bowller of any field of cricket belive him boss of any bowler.

  • Mobin Bhatti on October 6, 2009, 0:36 GMT

    Both Imran and Wasim as a bowler are greats. Pakistan is proud to have witnessed these two greats in its camp. One should not compare the two because they both have served Pakistan well when critical moments arose. Lets not forget that Akram was far better under Imran's captaincy. He had achieved more as a bowler when Imran was the helm. It should tell us somtheing about Imran's ability as a bowler. Since then I do not think Pakistan has been able to nurture and breed a better fast bowler under anyone else's leadership. It is simple as it is that Imran was a great fast bowler and greatly groomed Akram to become one if not better.

  • Sajid Hussain on October 5, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    wasim akram a great bowler of the world because one over is six ball. he has six varieties.

  • P.Balasubramaniam on October 5, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    For sheer magic n joy of watching a fast bowler in action, Akram it is. Someone who could generate the same speed from four yards and from forty yards, some one who could show variation like a spinner, then Akram it is.

    Someone who is blessed then it is Akram you call it what he is definitely the most gifted and complete fast bowler of all times he can rip, he can show variation, he can be sublime, he can be hostile and in all these facets he can and will always kill.

    Ture, salutes to Imran for putting Pakistan on the cricketing world map firmly but if it bowling then the one could be and should be Wasim, only.

  • haqster on October 5, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    Dennis Lillee in his book Menance, rate IK over Akram. Says Akram let bowlers dominate mid innings, while Imran was more consistent throughout the innings

  • eric shaw on October 5, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    i think it was lakhaan who was the best bowler and is etill rated the best.lakhaan can wield his weapon and do lakhan very very fast and make the lying opposition breathless.my hats off to lakhaan for such a wonderful performance

  • asim sheikh on October 4, 2009, 19:13 GMT

    this is an incorrect comparison, wasim's probably the best ever fast baller, better than mcgrath, marshall, donald, lee, ambrose, anyone. imran was a better allrounder as a whole package, a better captain, mentally much stronger. wrong comparison guysssss

  • v.r.srikanth on October 4, 2009, 17:47 GMT

    Both great champions. Wasim was truly one of the greatest ever. Imran was inspirational and a great leader. He did get the benefit of some poor umpiring in the 80's which eluded Wasim. As an Indian I have a great deal of respect for Pakistan cricket and I do not for once want to sound political. Pace, swing and cut Wasim was a notch above Imran. The greatness of Imran lies in the fact that he was a pioneer...was even the first to unabashedly champion the cause of neutral umpiring. Wwasim was pure natural talent. Imran whyo started as a predominantly chest on inswing bowler in 1971 added multiple strings to his bow as he went on in all aspects of fast bowling, batting and captaincy. He was perhaps one of the shrewdwest cricket brains Pak ever produced and he grew in the tutelage of Burki, Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Safraz Nawaz and of course Mushtaq Mohammed. The contribution of Imran to Pakistan cricket in terms of development of fast bowling if fantastic. But Wasim wins.

  • kabooter on October 4, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    IMRAN KHAN is BEST wel i go as far as saying best ASIAN CRICKETER (followed by wasim,sachin,murli)...WASIM AKRAM 2ND BEST... WAQAR YOUNIS 3RD BEST... FAZAL MAHMOOD 4TH BEST...SHOAIB AKHTAR 5HT BEST thats as far is pakistan Fast bowling is concerned!!! as for spinners 1.Abdul Qadir 2.Saqlain Mushtaq 3.Mushtaq Ahmed 4.Danish Kaneria 5.Iqbal Qasim. As for Batting concerned!!! 1.Inzamam 2.Miandad 3.Mohammed Yousuf 4.Saeed Anwar 5.Hanif Mohammad/Zaheer Abbass. As for keppers! 1.Rashid Latif 2.Wasim Bari 3.Moin Khan 4.Kamran Akmal 5.Saleem Yousuf!!!

  • zohaib on October 4, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    no doubt wasim akram was the better bowler. But imran was good captain

  • Ahmed. Q on October 2, 2009, 10:36 GMT

    In my view both were great and brought much glory to Pakistan. Akram was a better bowler but then again lets not forget that Akram also learned a lot from Imran. Imran was definitely more committed and driven than Akram and maybe, had he not gotten injured the records books might have read a little different. It makes me proud and happy that Pakistan produced two of the worlds greatest bowlers or rather cricket legends who were respected and feared by all almost all the opposing teams over a period of 4 decades. Now lets go win the Champions Trophy!!!

  • LA traffic on October 2, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    They are both great in their own ways. But one thing is for sure no other cricketer can even come close to handsome personality of Imran Khan on the field. He looked like a Greek god!

  • Ali on October 1, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    very informative blog....but Imran and Waim are two different bowlers, right handed vs left handed ....in different era, therefore comparing them is almost impossible....they both stand with good statistics compared to most of their opponents and that is most important.

  • Akif on September 29, 2009, 8:10 GMT

    Well, i would go for imran due to his ability of leading. I won't pick on wasim either. Both of them were tycoons of cricket.

  • Atif on September 29, 2009, 5:22 GMT

    Everyone forgot about WAQAR YOUNUS. its funny how u can compare the two greats and by leaving the 3rd great without whom pakistan's cricketing history is incomplete. So the fair comparison wud be between IMRAN VS WASIM VS WAQAR. well Imran was always the great with the addition of a charismatic personality, and 100% loyalty to the game and a marvelous and outstanding leader along with being a great batsman. WASIM was discovered by Imran's vision only along with WAQAR so u can make out what a perfect visionary and a legendary character Imran has always been. WASIM on the other hand was greater bowler and a gud batsman. His peak time started when Imran's time was getting over so we will never know if WASIM, WAQAR were better or not from IMRAN. but all in all, as a bowler only Imran was great, Waqar was greater and Wasim withstood the storm of time to get his career longer than that of Waqar's to achieve the rank of greatest left arm bowler of all times i.e. the left arm of the god.

  • Muhammed Azam on September 29, 2009, 4:48 GMT

    why Akram VS Imran? do not compare any left arm bowler with right arm one this is silly try to compare Waqar and Imran...

  • Asad on September 29, 2009, 0:29 GMT

    It is a simple case of apples and oranges. one can argue based on his/her taste which fruit tastes better but comparing them is impossible and irrational. There are two many variables to know for right even on the basis of statistics. Miandad said akram because his behaviour dislikes facing swing and so he said he would not like to face the left arm legend. But if one asks, for example , Vishwananth, he would definitely say Imran Khan. But some debates are to last forever and this is one of them. Wasim is like a warrior every commander would like to have, Where as Imran is the lion who can lead pack of sheaps to victory. Imran, Wasim and Waqar, achieved eternal greatness and it is in their honour that we cricket lovers pay tribute by discussing their greatness with all the passion we possess

  • Allan M on September 28, 2009, 2:20 GMT

    Akram...the left arm of God. No other bowler has achieved what he has. Even after shortening his run-up the pace did'nt fall off. I think he was a better captain as well...for a period of time where politics ruled the locker room. He was more a team oriented guy.....

    Imran gr8 leadership brings out the best in people....for some reason I think he was faster than Akram as well..with the fierce jump at the wicket and the headband before delivery his in swingers........but his downfall was his arrogance..after wining the WC and not ackowledging his team mates....you often wondered at that time..what was he thinking! If u had a team and had to choose..it would be Akram.....you could always find a better captain but never a class bowler....

  • Husnain on September 27, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    judging purely by bowling skills, expertise and control, Wasim looks ahead of the two, but only just...its not taking anything away from Imran, infact a compliment that one of his pupils became so great that even bettered him in control and swing...i'm not at all saying that Imran's wasn't a great bowler, just saying how great Wasim was...thats as much as the debate goes about their BOWLING only....as a complete package Imran is in a league of his own...dedication, committment, legacy, capaitany, batting and what not...not to forget he gave us Wasim lolz

  • Ashfaq Ahmed on September 27, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    Imran was great player with strong mental strength and one of the best allrounger in the world but Wasim Akram was good sweing bowler. Imran was great captain.

  • GM on September 27, 2009, 2:38 GMT

    How come Waqar has been left out? Statistically he was just as good. Take a look at his strike rate in tests...better than Imran's and Wasim's.

    However dont forget Imran played against the likes of Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Chappel brothers, Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Amarnath not to forget David Gower, Graham Gooch, Martin Crowe, John Wright,even Sri Lanka had very good batsmen like Dias, Mendis and Aravinda DaSilva. Akram's advantage was that he was a southpaw..the ball that came in was destructive.One thing that should be held against Imran is that he picked very few wickets of the greats mentioned in Pakistan where wickets tend to be very flat except of course in the famous 82-83 against the Indians when he claimed 40 victims in a 6 test series.Imran tended to struggle on flat pitches...Akram kept things tight on such surfaces.Talking of run rates,dont forget that Imran played in a era of conservative scoring and Akram finished in an era of batsmen taking chances at the very outset

  • Haseeb Ahmed on September 27, 2009, 0:10 GMT

    This comparison is a silly. Imran, after all, is surely among the leading ten--perhaps even five--batsmen Pakistan have produced. Wasim, by contrast, would not find a place as a batsman alone. As bowlers, Imran has single-handedly won more matches for Pakistan than Wasim has. And finally bowling statistics have something to say too: Imran, despite not being able to play during several of his peak years, has (1) better average, (2) better strike rate, and (3) more 10 fors and 5 fors agaisnt arguably better opposition than Wasim. I'm not arguing here that Wasim is less talented, only that Imran was the better bowler. On the talent criterion, BTW, Vinod Kambli was probably a better batsman than Rahul Dravid, and Lawrence Rowe arguably a better bastman than Brian Lara.

  • nazir khan on September 26, 2009, 10:48 GMT

    i would say that imran khan was the better crickter while wasim akram was the better bowler, anyway they were two outstanding crickters so my advise is that to compare them is not fair. i hope that most will agry with me. nazir khan

  • Anonymous on September 25, 2009, 20:41 GMT

    if we compare them as bowlers wasim is better but if as a all rounder its imran bhai

  • navz on September 25, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Wasim may have been the better bowler but Imran was most certainly the better cricketer hands down. I have grown up watching Wasim Akram and he was absolutely devastating and all great batsman will agree, but... as a Cricketer, All-Rounder and a Captain there has been NO better than Imran Khan who played for his Country's success and always gave it his ALL no matter who he was up against. He was a Tiger, a fighter and a true leader but unfortunate for Pakistan there may never be a like.

  • ibrar on September 25, 2009, 7:22 GMT

    i think imran is much better than wasim.. take it like it is imran was teacher and wasim was a student...as a all rounder wasim is way behind imran..who gave us the world cup in 1992...best captian.. imran... althoug wasim had chances twice and he fail to prove it that he can do it.. he could done in quater final against india 1996..he rule himself out called the name of injury.. then against aus in final pak lost too..who was the caption both time wasim.. i belive u canot even campare imran with wasim.. may be wasim is better bowler but again credit goes to imran who was the teacher.. not student!!!

  • khalid on September 24, 2009, 20:28 GMT

    what the hack, you guys putting wasim with imran khan......Wasim akram has magic, we won world cup with help of wasim and rest....first is wasim akram,2nd waqar younis even shoaib is better than imran khan

  • Abdur Razzak on September 24, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    som times stats do not justify, but two things are moe than enough to say both were in the same level. 1. The respect they got from the opposition when they had the ball in their hand and 2. The continuation of that through out the career speaks a lot to justify this.

  • Orlurumsana on September 24, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Imran always gave his 100%. He played for team even when he had to resort to injections simply coz he knew how much it mattered to play for Pakistan. He never played for records. There are so many tests where he only played as a batsman without worrying for his bowling records. I think waseem on the other hand a true genius, was a little greedy especially after what he did in 96 world cup quaterfinals & the way he tried to ruin career of Waqar Younus. I think Imran khan is the King KHAN!

  • syed sareer jan on September 23, 2009, 23:12 GMT

    i am crazy of waqar younis run up , and also he has the most better strike rate still in the world , he is the master of the rewers swing , he is the greatest of all time , and i love the imran khan captained

  • d on September 23, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    wasim and waqar would not have been as big without imran, and they benefitted from skills developed by imran, the best 5 pakistan fast bowlers of recent time: imran, waqar, wasim, shoaib akhtar and muhammad asif lol, not sure about the last two, lol but they could have been very easily in the same list

  • SAJID KHAN on September 23, 2009, 5:02 GMT

    My opinion is the Legend Wasim Bhai .. He can bowl the six different deliveries...

  • Shoaib zaidi on September 22, 2009, 19:07 GMT

    Wasim is a great bowler wow its a great joke of this year ..see the records in cricinfo Wasim is nothing even infront of WAQAR Younis and i dont know why we compare wasim and imran. According to ICC ranking Imran is better then wasim , Even Wasim is not better then Waqar. Wasim had third place in pakistani cricket bowler ranking if i m wrong check crickinfo

  • Shahab Ullah Khan on September 22, 2009, 18:59 GMT

    Imran Khan is much much better then Wasim i think its a great joke if we say Wasim is better then Imran why we forget he taught the techniques and confident to wasim and waqar . According to records its also proven Imran is #1 Then WAQAR YOUNIS is # 2 then Wasim Akram Is #3 but as a batsman wasim is better then Imran and waqar

  • Shahab Ullah Khan on September 22, 2009, 18:50 GMT

    Imran Khan was a great bowler why we forget he taught the techniques and build confident to wasim and waqar. According to my point of view Imran khan is No. 1 and Waqar Younis is No. 2 and after waqar wasim is better if i am wrong so check the record wasim is nothing infront of Imran and Waqar

  • Syed Amir on September 22, 2009, 11:30 GMT

    Imran was the King and the most glamorous cricketer of all time. Don't forget that he is the sole inspiration for the succeeding fast bowlers like Wasim and Waqar. Beside he is a true leader with a firm belief that you can do wonders provided you have faith on your capabilities. Unfortunately there was less cricket in his era otherwise he would surpass and easily broken all time records. Remeber the Paki team 92, I guess 09 out of 11 became the captains afterwards. So arguably he was the best ever.

  • Farhan on September 22, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    Akram was more talented than Imran... But Imran was more Committed..

  • Gr8 man on September 22, 2009, 8:15 GMT

    What About Waqar Younis ??????

  • M. Haris on September 22, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Assalam o alaikum! No doubt, Wasim Akram was and is a real legend. He was an outrageous bowler of all times, but we shouldn't forget that Imran was his Guru. Wasim learnt many skills from Imran Khan. And one more thing, according to ICC's ranking of 100 greatest bowlers in the history of cricket, Imran's rank is better than Akram.

  • saad on September 21, 2009, 21:26 GMT

    if wasim would have bring 99 worldcup to pakistan he would definitely be a head of imran,but a one single jewel in crown keeps imran ahead of wasim that's what I think is a difference between good player and a great player :)

  • Sajid Mahmood on September 21, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    Akram's skill was spotted and developed by Imran. No other capan in the world would have given Akram a license to bowl as fast and furious as he did in the 1992 world cup. By Akram's own admission, Imran said to him don't worry about no balls or wides, just go and knock the stumps out of the ground. After that match wasim bowled with the same mentality for the rest of his career. Had he not sold himself short with the numerous match fixing scandals that he was involved in he would have been by far the greatest left arm fast the world would have "EVER" witnessed. As for Imran he may not have possesed the skill that Akram had overall. He in my opinion had the best cricket brain ever. Not only that he was a true lion in the jungle, not a million Wasim Akram's could have sent shivers down the great West Indian side of the 80's like Imran did. In conclusion Akram the better bowler, Imran the better everything else, batsmen, allrounder,fieder, captain and person. Pakistan Zindabad.

  • Shiraz on September 21, 2009, 19:37 GMT

    Imran put Pakistan on the map, in more ways than one. Imran was a perfectionist and worked hard at his run up, fitness etc. Wasim had plenty of natural ability and perhaps could do more with a ball. However,the oppostion that Imran faced in his time with a mediocre team makes Imran's bowling figures better than Wasim's. However, I can think of no bowler better than Wasim in polishing off the tail enders; like a hot knife through butter. Towards the end of his career, Imran could have batted in any test team. He showed that in the world cup final in 1992, coming in at no.3 and scoring 70. Imran was also one of the most respected cricketers of all time, by his colleagues and by the opposition. A natural born leader that brought out the best of his team and also found many players and taught them well, including Wasim. One day, Wasim & Waqar will regret their bickering as I believe we could have and should have won more in their era. Neither were naural leaders but still legends.

  • dr.kashif rafique on September 21, 2009, 19:36 GMT

    there is no doubt that imran khan is the best ever bowler produced by subcontinent.he had more express than wasim akram and he mostly bowled in the era of great batsmen like gavaskar,vivian richards,gower,gooch, clive lyod,border,martin crowe,lamb etc.he took most of his wicket on dead wickets.his stats are also better than wasim akram.

  • Arshad S Jafri on September 20, 2009, 1:15 GMT

    Arshad Jafri,

    I believe Wasim Akram was the most effective, intelligent, and talented bowler Pakistan has ever produced. Imran khan was the best all rounder the world of cricket has ever produced, there is absolutely no Comparison he is a legend.

  • Engle on September 19, 2009, 21:26 GMT

    Imran's record against the best teams of his time is far better than Wasim's similar record. Tough competition brought out the best in him.

    Imran : vs Windies (80 wkts @ 21.18) vs India (94 wkts @ 24.04) vs England (47 wkts @ 24.63) vs Australia (64 wkts @ 24.96)

    Wasim : vs Australia (50 wkts @ 25.76) vs India (45 wkts @ 28.86) vs S.Africa (13 wkts @ 29.76) vs England (57 wkts @ 30.66)

    Imrans average against all countries never exceeded 25, except for minnow NZ. Smoother graph. Whereas Wasim beat up on the lesser teams.

    Point : Imran's performance against the best surpasses Wasim's performance against the best

    Many posters here bring up his All-round record including captaincy, which may be obscuring his bowling record. Had his batting/captaincy been less than solid, his bowling would have stood out far more.

  • waqas ahmad khan on September 19, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    i am from lahore. Imran khan is just outstanding person. Imran khan only just play for nation, as far as cricket i would like to say that Wasim was the greatest bowler. his reverse swing with new ball was just amazing. when he came to bowl alway there is a fear in the mind of batsman. and Imran khan he was a finest all-rounder in the world and i would like to say the he was the only person who have the ability to give us the World Cup. and he proof that he always lead from the front in my opinion now its was very diffcult for Pakistan Cricket Team to take the CUP once again because of politics in the team. at last i would like to say that THANKS IMRAN KHAN great honour for the country

  • umar tosheeb on September 18, 2009, 20:30 GMT

    I personally think that Wasim Akram was much better bowler than Imran Khan, as shown by his record. Imran Khan was of course a better all-rounder and much better captain.

  • Imran Ahmed on September 18, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    I think waseem was a better bowler while Imran was better captain and good all rounder.

  • Hasan , toronto on September 18, 2009, 4:33 GMT

    Imran Khan was truly a king. He changed pakistani cricket for better. Imran mentored many greats and polished them into better cricketers. Wasim no doubt was the best left arm bowler. But Please lets not forget what wasim akram did to sideline waqar younis in his prime and made waqar sit on the benches and made him play against bangladesh only in world cup 99. Waqar younis was a very gifted down to earth cricketer. waqar has always been under rated because of that. But time showed that when waqar came back in team, we all saw how well he performed even at the age of 28 he was as good as he was at his prime. So, have some respect for great waqar younis. i grew up counting each wicket of waqar younis and i did that till he retired but fact remains waqar younis fans will never forgive what wasim akram did to waqar and pushed him away. Debate about that .. why did wasim akram made abused his authority and ruined or tried to ruin likes of waqar, aamir sohail, rashid and basit ali?

  • Sarfraz on September 18, 2009, 3:42 GMT

    You can't compare 2 greats of cricket , where each of the 2 has an aura of his own .I am an ardent fan of akram but when i compare Imran to Akram ,as a bowler Akram is better .At the same time Imran brought variety to the Pak attack. A true Opening bowler with a sound batting technique to fit in the midle order,a leader who led by example shoudering responsibilities.He was by far the best of the bowler who had destroyed batting lineup in his prime against the like of India,Australia and West Indies to name a few with greats likeRichards,Borders,gattings.w.Batsman in those era were superior in technique and was class act .I am not undermining batsman of today era in which Akram bowled.Debate still continues.

  • Abdullah Nawab on September 17, 2009, 18:10 GMT

    Imran was Akram's Teacher he monitored him and taught him all that was about swing bowling and the notorious reverse swing ; not to take it away from Akram he had the talent which is proven by his outstanding bowling figures . But Imran has the edge because Imran in my view was a better learner and more diligent of the two.

  • Muzaffar Saeed on September 17, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    Please do not discuss the greats Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis it brings tear to my eyes, this was the best that could have happened to Pakistan. I wonder if I could see the likes of 2Ws again in my life ....ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh thank God I have seen them live bowling those magical deliveries .

  • Mujtaba on September 17, 2009, 1:09 GMT

    Waqar was better bowler than any of those, reason being he was robbed 2-3 yrs of his peak because of silly politics in pakistani cricket. If he would've played those extra 2-3 yrs he could've easily surpassed both of them. In Wasim/Imran debate just like others I have the same opinion..Akram better bowler. Imran better cricketer.

  • Shakaib on September 16, 2009, 17:24 GMT

    Imran khan was the best bowler pakistan has ever produced. The new kids writing these blogs have not seen Imran at his bowling peak. He was denied the best yrs of his bowling due to his shin injury. He bowled out the strongest indian batting side on the most dead pitches in 1982. Later pakistani bowlers looked up to him and wanted to be like him. Second to him would be Waqar at his peak. No one else has ever had such speed, control and swing which Waqar had at his peak. Wasim's career is also tarnished by his match fixing allegations which bring his status down as a player.

  • Faisal Wahab on September 16, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Imran Khan was the greatest bowler pakistan produced after fazal mehmood. He was at his peak in aus 1976-77. The Series against india in 1982-83 was the unforgettable as far as imran khan is concerned. 25th dec 1982 2nd test karachi against india, i saw that delivery which viswanath left it, and he was clean bowled. That was pure fast bowling from imran khan who was keen to take avenge of the 1979-80 defeat in india. Wasim benefitted a lot from imran khan, wasim was not quick to learn reverse swing more than waqar younis did, because waqar had speed. Wasim relied heavily on swing & seam. He had a deceptive bowling action. Wasim bowled really well at the oval in 1992,leeds 1996, manchester 2001 he was showing his real class in these test matches. Imran khan was the top class bowler of the 1970's & mid 80's, whereas wasim peak was late 1980's, 1990's & early 2000's.Wasim had one other good thing that he was a good listner & quick learner.

  • ahmad on September 16, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Wasim is definitely the best left arm fast bowler in the history of the game and probably also the best bowler in his era.On the other hand Imran was a genuine all rounder and probably the best in the history.We cant compare them with each other.

  • a shah on September 16, 2009, 4:25 GMT

    Wasim's biggest moment was the 1992 World Cup, when he took more wickets than anybody else at an average of 19ish. Botham and Mushtaq were close with similar averages. Go back four years to the 1987 World Cup, and you find Imran as the second highest wicket taker (having played a match less the C McDermott) but more importantly, with an average of 13! The second best average was McDermott and Patterson with approximately an average of 18-19. The fact is Imran was a gulf in class beyond his contemporaries. His average against the great teams of his day was below 15 - Wasim did not manage that. Wasim was more beautiful, he was a Zaheer, but Imran was a Viv Richards.

  • Saqib Khan on September 16, 2009, 0:50 GMT

    Well to me ... Waqar was the best ever thing Pakistan Ever had ... Man he was some bowler woooaah!!

  • Dr Shakeel Ahmad on September 15, 2009, 22:04 GMT

    No doubt both are class act and it is probably unfair to compare both.But we should not forget the Role of media. When Imran started his career there was no such luxury to pakistani public to see him every time on TV in all series he played especially during international tours and cricket was less glamorous than most of Akram's career. We should not forget that Akram had support of Imran plus waqar and later shoaib and there was Aqib as well.They could put pressure on batsmen and it could have helped Akram.So media pressure along with peer pressure on other batsmen.We should also not ignore the batting side of the game.Imran stands alone as a batsman as well and out of Akrams three centuries one he mad in perth with Imran 123 was helped by Imran's guidance.What about sheer captain skills and wasim can be more shrewd bowler but as a crickter Imran was probably much better and complete package.Let me mention here that not long ago Imran outclassed all other Allrounders on cricinfo.

  • Nadeem Bhutta on September 15, 2009, 21:55 GMT

    I think Wasim had the variety that made him a better bowler than Imran, Wasim is arguably the best left arm bowler the game has ever seen, Waqar is the best pace bowler and best exponent of reverse swing an art that he had mastered...Waqar was also lethal with his toe crushing yorkers. But one thing i must add Wasim and Waqar were only great becuase they were grommed by Imran...So he was actually a master aswell.......

  • Shehzad Ghani on September 15, 2009, 21:40 GMT

    What is the need to compare them? A better question would be who was a bigger asset to Pakistan. I think the answer to this would not be easy, but not as difficult. Waqar yes, was the best ever!

  • Ernest Thakurdas on September 15, 2009, 14:53 GMT

    Both of them masters in their skill, unmatchable craftsmen in their own right. Their is no comparsion needed. Both were excellent in their playing days.

  • a shah on September 15, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    As a bowler Akram is remembered most for the 1992 World Cup, where he was the leading wicket taker. He took 18 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 18.77. His closest rivals were Botham (16 in 10 matches at 19.12) and Mushtaq Ahmed (16 in 9 matches at 19.43)

    Let us go back a world cup earlier, to the 1987 World Cup, where Pakistan were favourites but stumbled in the semi-final. Imran was the second highest wicket taker in the tournament, where he took 17 wickets in 7 matches at an average of 13.05. His closest rivals were Craig McDermott with 18 wickets (8 matches at 18.94) and B Patterson with 14 wickets (6 matches at 18.07).

    I would always prefer to watch Wasim bowl; he was to bowling what Zaheer Abbass was to batting, but Imran at his peak was a brutal class apart from his peers. Has Wasim ever played a series against the leading test side of his time with a cartload and wickets and an average of 14? Imran did that against the Windies - he was a colossus.

  • sm judoon on September 15, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    i've been a big big big admirer of great khan, but to be honest..... in my opinion, as a bowler wasim was a notch higher.

  • owais nawaz on September 15, 2009, 2:43 GMT

    I think both are great but wasim has more varities than Imram its not statistics that matters.its the on ground performance that matters. Sachin a great batsman but wen he scores usually india looses the match but still he is great. wasim can bowl 6 different varities in an over where imran cannot but imran has an edge on batting but at the end both are legends both of them lift the fast bowling in pakistan lots of young guys follows them both.

    in ofspin bowling i thing saqlain mushtaq was the best than harbajen and murli

  • Muhammad Ali Butt on September 15, 2009, 0:19 GMT

    Offcourse Wasim Akram...actually this camparison is wrong..Imran is a all rounder, he bowled earlier and he always did battinng on number 3 instead of Wasim akram he bowled in the start and did bat on number 6/7. Wasim always concentrated on his bowling and Imran did on both side. After the Wasim,waqar and aqib i dont think imran concentrated on his bowling and batting. Wasim is not only best against Imran ..he is best in all over the world's bowler

  • Naeem on September 14, 2009, 19:40 GMT

    The question is not who is greatest among the two but who is more idealistic. If I were to defend five runs in a last over I would bet my life on Akram. However, if i were to play for my dignity and pride, Imran would be the winner. I never saw Imran play because i was much too young and idolized Akram. But If I had the choice of who I would want to be, I would choose Imran. First because of his looks, the way he played, the respect he recieved, the dignity he showed on the field and how much a remarkable captain he was. Quote from Richie Benaud "If you can make a team like Pakistan win a test match, a seried, a world cup, you are not just an ordinary good captain, you are a very very very good captain". That proves my point

  • Ateeque Ahmed on September 14, 2009, 17:41 GMT

    When i was child from there im big fan of Imran Khan. He was born with great talent n great leadership quality. Pakistan has not yet produced a guy who is stronger than Imran Khan in department. But when we came in the decade of 90s then Pakistan produced a talent named Wasim akram who has crushed out all the past memories of al the talent of Pakistan from form Fazal Masood to Imran Khan. So we get conclusion that when we set our mind in classic world we find Imran Khan and when we set our mind in the modern decade then no one is competeter of Wasim Akram. yet Pakistan didnt have produced a talent who can crush the memories of these two. hhheeee Sorry i have not discussed about Waqar Younuis only he can crush the memories of all the cricketer from pakistan. now Shahid Khan Afridi from Khyber Agency is going for the Competition.

  • khuram shahzad on September 14, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    i think two all bowlerrs are the best bowler in the world i cant different in between imran and waseem but i like imran bcz he have a motivated bowler in the world and waseem also he have a good experince in bowling and batting and have a too much experince in swing

  • Mojahid Ali on September 14, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Wasim WaS best Bowler Imran Was Great Alrounder

  • Omar on September 14, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    As a captain, if I know that neither wasim or Imran will bat and their fielding does not matter, and I had to choose one between them to take on the field in a test match, it would undoubtly be Imran. While Wasim had more old ball penetration, Imran's new ball seaming inswingers and incutters, I think, are still the best in history. Imran made batting giants of Indian cricket on dead pitches of asia crumble (these men were born to survive on a cricket pitch and could do it all day long). While we are remember isolated incidents of Wasim bamboozling Dravid, no one consistently dethroned the Indian old age walls like Gavaskar, Azhruddin, Shashtri, Srikanth like Imran. And since Tests are the real test, that's how I decide who is the better one. Seriously, apart from this debate, does anyone or the writer know any bowler who could bring the ball that much ball into the batsmen, and consistently, like every ball of the over?

  • M.Zulfikar cader on September 14, 2009, 9:19 GMT

    Imran khan is one of the greates captain,and allrounder, Akram is a great bowler

  • Faraz on September 14, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    I think Waseem Akram was a better bowler with his remarkable ability to swing the ball both ways. But his batting abilities and captaincy was in no way comparable to that of Imran Khan. Imran was a better all rounder and captain as compared to Waseem. His leadership was inspirational and his committment to the game wunsurpassed. He was the best Pakistan captain of all times. Waseem, though a magical bowler, was not that good a captain. He was unable to lead Pakistan to world cup victories in 1996 and 1999, despite having the services of some of the best Pakistan cricketers of all times i.e. Saeed Anwer, Inzamam, Saqlain, and Waqar. Waseem was a sort of a maverick whose committment to Pakistan cricket was always questionable in the later half of his career.

    On a personal note, I believe Waqar Younus was the best Pakistan bowler of all times. At his peek, he was simply unplayable. He produced some magical spells even at the twilight of his career.

  • Haris on September 14, 2009, 4:02 GMT

    I will say few sentences: Both Imran and Wasim revolutionize swing bowling in international cricket. As you cannot compare Shane Warne and Muralitharan, so you cannot compare Imran and Wasim with one another. Both were King of Swing.

  • Hassan on September 14, 2009, 1:20 GMT

    Most of the cricket lovers of the new generation have not seen Imran when he was at his best. During Imran's era TV coverage and print media were not as good as they were in Wasim/Waqar period. Views of those who have seen all three of them live in action are more authentic. I am one of those and in my opinion Imran was the best with Wasim and Waqar close second and third in that order. Here I would like to mention the name of Fazal Mahmood, another Pakistani great fast bowler. People of his generation will vouch that he was no less or may be better than all three of them. He was the only fast bowler or that time who had taken 12 or more wickets in a test against four of the best test playing countries of that era. Australia, England, West Indies and India. He was also a key figure among those who brought Pakistan on the world cricket map. I would like Saad and other sports writers to delve in the history and bring the deeds of forgotten heroes like him to the modern cricket lovers.

  • Vaseem Siddiqi on September 13, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    For me the two GREATEST cricketers Pakistan have ever produced have been Imran Khan and Javed Miandad. This is because they always gave 100% and were fully committed to Pakistan. I only wish all Pakistanis could follow their example and if we did Pakistan surely will be a GREAT country in the world.

  • Asad on September 13, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    I think Akram was a better ODI bowler, while Imran was a better test match bowler due to his intelligent and committment. As a player, Imran was definitely a much better player. He was the best capiton Pakistan ever had.

  • danny on September 13, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    guys u need to take into account that wasim was suffering from diabetese during the last few years of his career, which really affected his performance. cut those last few years and then compare the stats!!

  • Aizaz on September 13, 2009, 11:16 GMT

    whats with all this Waqar rubbish. he was clearly under Wasim and as far as this debate goes Wasim was truly the best of all time Imran was a better allrounder but no bowler can outclass Wasim. Shoaib Akhtar had the Potential but threw it away. I guess he can settle for forth place.

  • Balaji K on September 13, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    I'd vote for Imran.If he had played as much as Akram had, his overall record would have been awesome.I still remember the way Vishwanath was bowled.That ball ended his career.We don't get to see the full beauty of Imran's bowling because the quality of telecast was not this high.Most people vote for Akram because they have seen him, they haven't seen Imran in his prime.Technology shows the full range Akram had;it did not show what Imran had.In my opinion the best Pakistani fast bowlers I have seen were Imran, Wasim and Waqar;not much between them.Forget Shoaib Akhtar.He never took responsibility the way these 3 guys did.

  • Osman Parvaiz on September 13, 2009, 2:51 GMT

    I've watched both Imran and Akram at their peaks. Very few people remember Imran at his peak as a bowler - 82 through 84 and then 86-88 (when he outshown every bowler in the world). His 40 wickets against India on a dust bowl, or even his fierce bowling during the 87 World Cup are unmatched. As a matter of fact he has the highest ICC Ranking for a bowler in the modern era (since 1914), and the 3rd highest of all-time. He was lethal, and even from 87-89, when Akram was peaking, the aging Imran was considered to be the real threat of Pakistan's bowling attack. For those of you who missed Imran, but saw the 2 Ws ... just imagine a bowler with Waqar's venom and Wasim's guile. Imagine the two W's in one body ... that was Imran.

  • shahrukh jamil on September 12, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    wasim akram is abetter bowler because of wasem ability his he ball six in over different in six balls he gave pakistan much more time after he ill in sugar patient but he doesnot lose he extra hardworking and he record on record he is champion bowler

  • Ali Malik on September 12, 2009, 21:26 GMT

    I think you forgot Waqar Younis.

  • Arbab Danish on September 12, 2009, 20:14 GMT

    Waqa younish fully deserves to be there in the debate. his speed, lethal yorkers, banana reverse swing,,aaha what a bowler he was..

  • Sana on September 12, 2009, 14:56 GMT

    Well my cricket memories starts from the 92 world cup final,which was Imran's last match but thanks to youtube that you have the oppurtinity to watch his great performances no doubt that Akram was a great bowler and may be better than Imran but i thnik it is true that Imran was a hardworker and always given his hunderd percent in his bowling i like the way he used to jump which i don't see in many bowlers.Then as a captain obviously you have to say Imran Khan.

  • Tufail Hussain on September 12, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    How could you not feature Waqar Younis in the "great debate"? His record speaks for itself, 373 Test wickets at an average of 23.56 and a strike rate of 43.4 - remember, the last four years of his bowling career was badly affected by the numerous back injuries he sustained. Just remember his younger days when he destroyed all before him. He was rated as the number bowler for most his career, whereas Akram was always number 5-ish.

  • PakFan on September 12, 2009, 10:25 GMT

    Imran a better captain, Wasim the better bowler. Imran was captain of the worldcup winning team but it was Wasim's bowling that influenced the result in the finals.

  • shawon on September 11, 2009, 20:22 GMT

    Imran Khan was a better all rounder and captain.Wasim Akram was a better bowler.

  • shawon on September 11, 2009, 20:19 GMT

    Imran Khan was a better all rounder and captain.Wasim Akram was a better bowler.

  • SAEED ZAMAN BABAR on September 11, 2009, 14:48 GMT

    IN BOWLING WASIM AKRAM WAS GREAT.INFACT HE WAS THE KING OF SWING........

  • Ali Zia on September 11, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    I think waqar was the best bowler that Pakistan produced. But if you compare only wasim and imran than I think wasim was better bowler but imran was far better cricketer than wasim could have been ...

  • Akhtar on September 11, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    I have followed the careers of both the great bowlers from the beginning to the end. This debate is about their bowling skills only and we should not bring their prowess as allrounders and captains into it. As fast bowlers both of them were great. Wasim was more talented but Imran was more dedicated and hard working. Imran never played against weak sides like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and even skipped a few series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand when he was in his prime because these two teams were the weakest teams of that era. What Imran did to a very strong Indian batting lineup in 80's is known to every cricket lover and Wasim's two World Cup deliveries cannot overshadow Imran's Performances. Saad has done a Miandad test but I have done another test on my own. I have asked many cricket lover as who was a better bowler, Wasim or Waqar and the opinion was almost 50/50 but vey few said that Waqar was a better bowler than Imran. Make a decision yourself but my vote goes for Imran.

  • RogerC on September 11, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    Waqar Younis at his best was much superior to Imran or Wasim at their best. Looking at numbers can be misleding.

  • Farhan on September 11, 2009, 2:39 GMT

    There is no comparison btw them.....Imran Khan was the teacher and Wasim n Waqar were his students. Simple as that:D

  • Sorcerer on September 11, 2009, 2:06 GMT

    You won't find many who would contend with the notion that for an All-Time World XI, Imran Khan is the natural choice as skipper.

    Imran's bowling stats are brilliant to say the least notwithstanding the fact that he lost couple of years due to shin fractures in '83 (at the onset of which he had ravaged India, SL and England with 75 Test wickets @ 12 approx. in merely 10 Test matches!) .....when he was in his most devastating prime, and in the words of Dileep Premachandran was, a force of nature who could bowl out mightiest of batting lineups like that of India with an orange!

    He was a fitness cult in that era who blazed the trail for a series of genuine fast bowlers to emerge from Pak idolizing his impact and style.

    Imran himself states that Wasim was more talented but IMHO Imran was a much tougher and smarter bowler.

    I agree that for a comparison it's better to debate between the Two Ws rather as Imran simply is incomparable.

  • Tahir Hashmi on September 11, 2009, 1:11 GMT

    In terms of ability I guess Waqar was ahead of both of them. As mentioned in the article Imran was perhaps more devoted and honest, he had a big heart. Wasim has a superb cricketing brain probably the smartest of them all. A lot of his wickets in ODIs came bowling at the right line and length towards the end of the inning. Wasim had more control and that helped him grab more wickets than Imran and Waqar. I think Waqar and Imran were more capable of generating unplayable delivering, scenes which will leave you breathless. Not for a moment I am suggesting Wasim never did that, but when Waqar and Imran bowled at their peak they were simply unbelievable.

    Waqar in his peak for me was the most astonishing bowling talent to come out of Pak.

  • naz on September 10, 2009, 23:13 GMT

    one can not judge akram analysing his average and strike rate he is more than than.He is someone who could do anything with the ball.in the history of cricket no one will find a second bowler who has got such control.amazing!!!!!!!

  • ted on September 10, 2009, 23:07 GMT

    wasim probaberly abetter bowler.imran abetter allrounder.benaud picked imran in his team of the century that says something.anyone who can bring together pakistan and win like imran says something about the man.

  • hammad khan on September 10, 2009, 21:17 GMT

    wasim akram was very telanted.... he is an example for all other bowlers of the world but IMRAN KHAN IS IMRAN KHAN.... unka koi muqabla nhi

  • Salman on September 10, 2009, 17:09 GMT

    The true debate is........Waqar Younis Vs. Wasim Akram. same time, same team, both extraordinarily talented !

  • Engle on September 10, 2009, 15:30 GMT

    To label a bowler as ‘ great ‘, one must also go beyond the minute details of the art such as bowling deliveries. One must look at the overall picture. At one time Asian bowlers were of the subservient type when it came to sustained spells of speed and stump shattering skills. Imran changed all that. He was the first genuine fast bowler from Asia. No longer were Asian bowlers thought of as slow spinners with guile or medium pacers with ability. Here was someone who could breathe fire and brimstone.

    Imran had presence, leadership, imperiousness, intelligence, influence, mentor, tutor and the ability to raise his game to the situation at hand. His battles against the rampaging WIndies were legendary. He came out ahead in bowling match-ups against the great Lillee, Hadlee and Marshall.

    While Wasim had the greater talent, Imran had the greater temperament.

    And I’d take temperament over talent any day.

  • Asif Rathod on September 10, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    Well, Imran Khan is obviously, one of the top all-rounder of his era, and I would rank him no.1 amongst Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Ian Botham, considering his overall batting and bowling records(And also, he played lots of his cricket on dead pitches of sub-continent). Now, Akram is a Cricketer of different era. He possesses that natural ability and charisma to make the cricket ball move both ways. He is a true artist, master of swing bowling. Undoubtedly, he is the best left hand fast bowler game has ever produced. Comparing Both, these legends, is irrelevant. It's just like comparing Brian Lara with Sachin Tendulkar. You'll never get an answer.

  • Asif Rathod on September 10, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    Well, Imran Khan is obviously, one of the top all-rounder of his era, and I would rank him no.1 amongst Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Ian Botham, considering his overall batting and bowling records(And also, he played lots of his cricket on dead pitches of sub-continent). Now, Akram is a Cricketer of different era. He possesses that natural ability and charisma to make the cricket ball move both ways. He is a true artist, master of swing bowling. Undoubtedly, he is the best left hand fast bowler game has ever produced. Comparing Both, these legends, is irrelevant. It's just like comparing Brian Lara with Sachin Tendulkar. You'll never get an answer.

  • waterbuffalo on September 10, 2009, 13:07 GMT

    Sorry, I'm a die hard Waqar fan. His run up alone was worth watching for five(or three) days. Only Marshall comes close , in my opinion. When Waqar bowled you, your stumps exploded. And watching Moin Khan flying all over the place to Waqar and Wasim was magnificent, too.

  • Tapo on September 10, 2009, 12:35 GMT

    As an Indian fan we should be in a good position to answer this debate...

    Wasim Akram

  • beenod on September 10, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Nice to put on few words on this hot debate, being a cricket lunatic from Nepal which iz yet to establish itself in the cricketing world, I found myself in quite uncomfortable position as I have to choose either heart or brain and everyone knows how tough a job it is. Yes, for me Imran is heart of Pakistan and Wasim is brain. I think I am not over rating either of them. And where the matter of comparision comes to be it'z clear Wasim, a better bowler n Imran, a complete cricketer. Both are gift to the world cricket endowed with so much of talent, proven match-winners and big crowd pullers! But yes, summing up, I would like to add another thing: had Waqar Younus provided with comparativly obstacle-less career he would have outplayed any bowlers in the world, though still he'z one of the very best and his figures stand for himself exhibiting what a class act he was!

  • Asad Aqeel on September 10, 2009, 7:46 GMT

    I think Wasim Akram is Great, he is a king of Fast bowler, Waqar Younas is also a great bowler,I would like to say " as a bowler Akram is great and as a crickter or Captain Imran is Great. There is no word for the Akram Short Pitch Bowl and yorker.

  • Saq on September 10, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    Wasim simply was better to watch. In terms of actual performance, impact on the game, consistency, performance against top and overall opposition, Imran is clearly ahead as a bowler. But too many modern day fans have been charmed by Wasim's admittedly magical bowling to see the truth.

  • Shoaib on September 10, 2009, 5:14 GMT

    Neither Wasim nor Imran! And not even Waqar. Shoaib Akhtar is the best fast bowler from Pakistan!

  • Kailash Lad on September 10, 2009, 4:47 GMT

    Comparisons between 2 greats r always a big challenge, although my view remains a Wasim Waqar comparison is more apt as against a Wasim Imran, the reason being both played in different eras. Whilst no one can doubt their extraordinary bowling skills one shud not 4get that Imran bowled in an era when batsmen were skilled in "merely playing out deliveries" at times whereas Wasim's era was during the 15 over restriction when batsmen were more risk taking and dismissal prone. Additionally, Imran led the hopes of an unrecognised outfit (i.e. as a cricket world power)whereas when Wasim was at his peak Pakistan was already a feared side. These factors make Imran's efforts that much more laudable vis-a-vis Wasim. However, one cannot overlook Wasim's ability to create situations like in the 1992 WC finals re-enacted on the 2nd morning of Pak's 1999 India Test tour. He had the same passion as WCF 1992 while cleaning up Dravid and Ramesh and Pak eventually won that test.

  • Dr Zubair on September 10, 2009, 4:44 GMT

    oh buddy!how can u compare wasim akram with imran khan!as a crickter imran khan was far far ahead of wasim akram.i agree that wasim was very close to immi in terms of bowling.but when v,re comparing 2 players there are many other things to be considered:batting,captaincy skills n fielding.imran has no match in pakistan in terms of a good player.if v consider the best 100 players of the last century,imran holds 7th position if my emory is correct but wasim is ranked 21.furthermore in a survey all around the world imran was declared the best allrounder of the last century ,garry sobers second to him.this survey was published on criciinfo as well.now judge it who,s better player imran or wasim?

  • Makhdoom Abbas on September 10, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    I guess we are not finished with this argument yet. I think both were great cricketers of all time but i would say that Imran won something which Wasim couldnot do and that was wining the World Cup 1992. But 4 me both are the greatest ever players in the history of game to come not only for Pakistan but also for International Cricket.

  • amit on September 10, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    having watched imran in 1982 bowl inswingers that swung about 60 degrees at 95 miles per hour on dead pakistani wickets, I can honestly say it is not possible to duplicate that and has not been over a stretch of 5-6 overs about 6 times in a series. Too bad one can't see any of his spells on youtube to really see what Imran did to India and England in 1982.

  • Bagapath on September 10, 2009, 4:24 GMT

    As all-rounders, there is no argument here. Imran is the clear winner. In terms of fast bowling alone, Akram had more variety and he discovered new skills in the art of seam bowling. Imran was faster at his peak, did better against bigger teams and is statistically also superior to Akram. Will have to hand it again to Khan by a whisker.

  • Sorcerer on September 10, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    For those who have had the pleasure of following ardently the careers of both the bowlers, I will be surprised if many would choose Wasim over Imran. Quite simply put, Imran was overall a bigger matchwinner, even better performer against high quality opposition (for example, against WI of that era he knocked over 80 scalps @ merely 21). His dominance reflected in him capturing the Man of the Match awards most regularly amongst all cricketers of the last 30-odd years. Wasim was more talented but Imran more explosive and effective owing largely to his lion-herated attitude and style and incomparable cricketing brain. Amongst all the bowlers of the modern era, Imran stands alongwith McGrath and Marshall as possessing the most balanced bowling stats viz a viz Home / Away and opposition yardsticks.

    Mind boggles as to what the bowling stats of Wasim and Imran would have looked like had they the support of an excellent slip catchers and fielders like those supporting the WI and Aus pacers.

  • M Najamularfeen on September 10, 2009, 3:49 GMT

    No doubt it is unstoppable debate, but my choice is Mr. great Khan in all forms of a player. His batting style both defensive and offensive, his bowling speed or swing, his leadership all are above among his competitors. Finally he is the TEACHER (USTAD), and he gave the lessen to Pakistani cricket, but no one was in his era who gave him the same trend.

  • ali asaam khan on September 10, 2009, 2:30 GMT

    its realy a very difficult question,i think both of them had there own class,i was very young when imran khan got retired,but what i v heard from my parents and other sources ,he was matchless,there are certain bowling performances of imran which differntiate him from other cricketers.as far as wasim is concerned ,i havent seen such a stylish,passionate,verstile cricketer in my life. he has given exceptional performances throughout his career,final of 1992 worldcup is one of the example at the end ,in my opinion wasim was the greatest left arm fast bowler in the history of cricket and imran was one the best right hand fast bowlers. rgds ali asaam khan london

  • Vinsanity on September 10, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    For starters, it is unfair for Imran as most of Wasim Akrams spells can be found on Youtube for the new generation cricket followers who were not able to watch him during his days, whereas only few of Imrans spells are available. As a new generation cricket follower ( born in 1988) i only watched wasim so i could only comment on him and waqar. A real debate i would suggest would be a Wasim vs Waqar as both played during the same time. And if i had to chose between them i would pick wasim because he could get a wicket any time on any pitch.. also waqar younis got smacked alot... wasim , waqar, then imran

  • Haseeb Ahsen on September 10, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    Imran Khan was better then Wasim because of several reasons like because of him we were the world champions. He was a great captain always wana lead from the front always possitve with his game plan and the most important beacause of him people love this sports in sub continent and we had produce greats like Wasim and Waqar and many others all around the world.

  • Ashok on September 9, 2009, 22:44 GMT

    From another Indian who grew up in the 70s and watched Imran demolish India in 82-83 (who can forget the magic in dipper from Imran to Vishy who shouldered arms only to see his stumps flying). IMHO, Akram is the better bowler notwithstanding the fact that most batsmen would play out Imran knowing that there were lesser mortals operating from the other end whereas the other end for Wasim was Waqar. Just watching the footage of what Wasim can do with the ball - see the youtube video of Wasim bowling to Robert Croft. The ball swings into his feet before swinging away and beating his bat at a high speed. This is against the laws of physics :-). No doubt Imran was a great leader, allrounder etc. but Wasim is the best fast bowler I have seen in watching cricket for the last 40 years (better than Macko, Ambrose, Lillee etc.)..

  • Rafi on September 9, 2009, 22:19 GMT

    A great bowler cant only mesured by wicket taking but also ability to make constant pressure on batsman. And i think this factor gives edge in favour of Wasim. Imran was also good bowler to put pressure but it was Wasim whose variation made him fearsome, the batsmen were just clueless about what type of delivery they will face next.

  • sofi on September 9, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    i think they both were great bowlers but if i have to pick one its ofcourse wassem akram he is the best

  • Faran on September 9, 2009, 22:01 GMT

    Wasim Akram is definetly the greatest bowler of all time , let alone just better than imran. long live the king of swing wasim.........

  • JK on September 9, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    IMO wasim's bowling skill was unmatched not only by Imran but by any modern bowler (shane warne and murali do not fall under the same catergory of course)....as a batsman and captain Imran is well above wasim. If I could pick just 1 player in my team, it would be Imran..but if I was looking for a bowler...clearly wasim

  • Waqas Siddiqui on September 9, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    Wasim Akram, a true magician Imran Khan, most alligent cricketer ever played i think there is no comparison, but still if we have to choose one... i think it would surely be Imran Khan because of his captaincy and world cup 92 win...

  • Ali Dada on September 9, 2009, 19:36 GMT

    very hard to answer this question - keep in mind the two totally different eras of cricket Imran and Wasim played. Imran: 1970s, 80s - brutal tests, 60 over ODIs for most part, majority of opponents (minus New Zealand and Sri Lanka) were quiet strong. HOWEVER, he did have several good players in his team such as Miandad, Bari, Abdul Qadir, Saleem Malik, etc.

    Wasim Akram: 1990s, early 2000s, also played against weaker teams such as Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, 50 over ODIs, HOWEVER, aside for a few players, Wasim had a loin's share of responsibility on his shoulders.

    But if it comes down to decision, I would say Imran Khan - the man is responsible for winning us Pakistanis the World Cup! Akram came close in 1999 but couldn't repeat the heroics.

  • Karim Shaban on September 9, 2009, 19:29 GMT

    I second the comment about Waqar. Waqar has significantly better strike rates than Wasim and their averages are about the same. And thanks to dressing room politics (*cough cough*), he was robbed about 3-4 years of cricket. He would have broken any of Wasim's records had he played the same amount of cricket.

    Based on leadership and all-round skills, Imran was the best cricketer of the three, but if you just look at bowling skill, Waqar was definately better than Wasim and Imran.

  • Travin Khargie on September 9, 2009, 19:07 GMT

    If we're talking purely bowling, I would give it to Akram ONLY if he was fit and motivated. Akram was a magician but at times, he made you feel he was not giving 100%, probably because of politics in the dressing room. He had so many gifts, I saw him bowl in a one-off test against New Zealand in the early 90's. New Zealand needed about 120/130 I think to win; Akram's bowling in the second innings was probably the fastest bowling I've watched (and I've seen Marshall, Holding, Roberts, Ambrose, Bishop, Walsh, Patterson, Younis, Donald and Bond. Only Shoaib Akthar and maybe Brett Shultz may have been faster. It was pure adrenelin, blisteringly fast, wickedly hostile and a decent NZ batting order had no answer! Imran was a champion who gave 100% with the ball and had excellent control of swing but maybe not as much variation as Akram.

  • INAAM ULLAH on September 9, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    I am a great fan of wasim, i thin he is my ideal cricketer. I saw him in his best. but imran is a role model for any cricketer not only pakistani but also for any one anywhere in the world. he was a great captain, intelligent and glamrous bowler and a very brave batsman especially leading his side from the front.

    I think there is a little coparison between the two. you can say that Wasim akram was more blessed with the skill and Imran is more blessed with the character and attitude.

  • Faisal Sami Qadir on September 9, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    Well, if the debate is about the better all-rounder, then undoubtedly, Imran heads the race coz u would ve never heard Wasim being in the elite list of being the greatest all rounder ever and imran'z name always sparkles when any such topic is discussed.. If the fight is for the bowling spot, its clear wasim's skills are uncomparable not only to imran but to the huge list of bowlers passing the stage... I'll have them both in my all time PAKISTAn Xl... Imran at 6 Wasim at 8

  • Faiz Hanif on September 9, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    Akram was a great bowler, but Imran Khan was a better 'cricketer'.

  • arjun on September 9, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    I'm an Indian. I've seen a lot of wasim but not much of imran except for some old videos. Imran looked great but honestly, wasim put fear the fear of God right into my heart. Thanks Wasim, for the memories...

  • Sridhar Kumaraswamy on September 9, 2009, 18:09 GMT

    An altogether Indian perspective:

    What Imran did to that famous Indian Batting line-up through that winter of 82/83 goes much beyond the domain of "clinical and academic". It was total domination and utterly fearsome !

    The real question to Miandad is "Do you want a 3-0 test series victory over India or a World Cup win over England ?"

    Imran took 42 wickets in that series against India, scarred the psyche of every Indian supporter (and robbed the heart of every Indian girl), and left some great Indian batsmen repeatedly clueless !

    Probably Malcolm Marshall's exploits the following year in India comes close this sort of impacton Indian batting(the bat flying from Gavaskar's hand....you know what I mean!).

    If I were a Pakistani, I'd greatly admire the art of Wasim Akram....but my love will be reserved for Imran Khan.

    Ultimately greatness depends more on how dominant the bowler was than mere mastery of the art. Imran was more dominant against India than any other bowler.

  • desihungama on September 9, 2009, 17:16 GMT

    Don't foget the fact Wasim Akram played for Pakistan when they were at their worst fielding wise. I do remember seeing many many of his catches being dropped. Better bowler; Wasim. Better cricketer; hands down Imran.

  • Clairmonte Hughes on September 9, 2009, 17:13 GMT

    I am from the West Indies and I grew up being a fanatical West Indian fan. When it came to Imran Khan, in our household, there was nothing but love. The greatest Pakistani captain ever and the second best captain ever, after Clive Lloyd.

  • Salim Jessani on September 9, 2009, 16:42 GMT

    Saad - great article and my 2 cents for what it's worth from across the border(well not literally any more but I'm an Indian). The article could have been titled a bit differently because the current title suggests Wasim v Imran as cricketers and not just bowlers. Understandably, both were better bowlers than batters, but we can't undermine their batting efforts especially Imran's. Throw in the captaincy and Akram doesn't even come close. As you can see, I've been suckered into taking a side as well. If you ask any Pakistani fan to compare the 2 as cricketers, Imran wins hands down, although I would like to give it away to Akram as a pure bowler - for among other things he was left handed and posed more problems to any batsman. Finally, as an FYI - if the same debate ever comes up in Indian cricketing circles, it is always Akram, as we're not too easily impressed by reasonable batsmen. It's the tearaway quickies that steal the thunder and Akram isn't quite the surprise then!!

  • Junaid Malik on September 9, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    I would say Akram because he got more skill than imran. Akram can moves the bowl both ways plus his yokers were so destructive and his short pitch ball not easy to handle it.

  • G.Natrajan on September 9, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    As a bowler Wasim Akram probably has the edge, notwithstanding Imran's better average. But, looking at the overall package, captaincy, the 1992 World Cup win and sheer contribution to Pakistan Cricket, I think Imran Khan is streets ahead of Wasim Akram.

  • roomi on September 9, 2009, 15:58 GMT

    Imran is the greatest allround cricketer and greatest captain to have come out from Pakistan and Akram the greatest bowler and definitely a genius with the ball. Waqar yunis has the greatest alltime strike rate in test cricket for all countries for players who played 50 matches or more.As a captain Imran is legendary beating West Indies Austalia India england the top cricketing Nations of the time.( and winning the World cup with a brittle batting line up)

  • Somnath DasGupta on September 9, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    Being an Indian (i.e. from the enemy camp :-)) and an avid follower of cricket from mid 70's and until now, I feel that my opinion on this issue would be dispassionate and hence have a greater credibility. I have been fortunate to see both Wasim and Imran at peak. In terms of sheer bowling skill / art, Wasim Akram without an iota of doubt is the greatest left arm fast bowler of all times and one of the greatest fast bowler of all times. Imran is a great bowler too but Akram is better. Statistics do not give full picture and there are too many variables in the equation. But as a complete cricketer and captain, Wasim doesnot stand a chance against Imran. The only 2 pakistani bowlers who gave me goose bumps the moment they came on to bowl were Wasim and Saqlain. They always looked like taking wickets anytime. The "Javed Miandad" test referred to in the blog is ,in my humble opinion a great test. If one of the most difficult to dislodge batsman says Akram is greater-then that's a lot to sa

  • Talha Khokhar on September 9, 2009, 15:21 GMT

    Very difficult to decide.... but I have to go with Imran Khan... In my opinion he was a better package than Wasim Akram at any given day... Imran knew more about cricket than Wasim... As a bowler Wasim had more talent but Imran had more knowledge... Imran was also a better captain than most... If we only take the 92 WC... the way he captained his tired and limping team... ingenious... Wasim had a lot of opportunities... and more than enough talent in him and playing with him... but... Most people do care about the end result... after all who brought the bacon home................

  • Ch. Adeel on September 9, 2009, 15:06 GMT

    As far as skills are concerned, they are very much close. But the one thing which gives Mr. Khan a big edge i.e his captaincy. Simply he can be rated as one of the best captains of cricket history.

  • nikhil on September 9, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Comparing them as bowlers alone, Wasim wins hands down. Imran himself has grudgingly implied this several times. Imran and Sarfraz had taken years to develop and master reverse swing. Wasim was simply born to do it. It was Imran who taught Wasim the art, but Wasim mastered it in the space 10 deliveries in the nets! Youtube will never let us forget the 1992 world cup, the reverse-swinging yorker to robert croft, and that magical over to Rahul Dravid. Imran had his moments, but none that seemed to defy the laws of physics.

    Imran means a lot more to Pakistan cricket - its greatest captain, its greatest all-rounder, and its greatest mentor. But the greatest bowler? No, that honor goes to the pupil, the one and only Wasim Akram.

  • Imran on September 9, 2009, 14:43 GMT

    I have seen Imran only in videos and never saw him in action. But upon some research from old-generation cricket lovers and the recent ones like me, I came to conclusion that both were greats in their own paradigm. But Imran was no less than a magician himself. He has produced some spectacular performances that only people watching it live could describe it. With technology people were able to see the greatness in Wasim but couldn't understand what Imran had to offer back then. My vote goes to Imran - even though I am a person who never saw Imran in action - only saw him when he lifted the cup and at that time cricket was just a sports to me b/c I was too young to understand what this sport was.

  • Lal on September 9, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    Akram a more versatile & overall skill ful bowler.Imran a much better all rounder.

  • Hari on September 9, 2009, 14:20 GMT

    Imran was the better player; captain, batting and bowling combined. If we consider bowling only then also it's pretty much even. But that doesn't make Akram any less; it's just shows how good Imran was.

  • ranjit on September 9, 2009, 13:58 GMT

    wasim was a better bowler,although the records suggest otherwise.but he was better as a bowler only by a small margin.as the author said,imran was no less.for mental strength ,it was imran.he played the whole WC'92 in pain killers.imran was a far better batsman and the best captain ever produced by pakistan.both imran and wasim wud b strong contenders for an all time world XI-both tests and ODIs.IMO,wasim was the best left hand bowler the world has ever seen and the greatest bowler pakistan has ever produced.imran was the best among the 4 gr8 all rounders of the 80s.he was the greatest cricketer ever produced by pakistan...

  • Sugan Govender on September 9, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    I'd like to take the debate one step further and suggest that fast bowlers work best in pairs. For much of his career, Wasim had the outright, toe-crunching speed of Waqar Younis at the other end, while I believe that Imran went mainly solo. Looking through the years, Lillee-Thompson, Garner-Marshall, Lee-Mcgrath, Donald-Pollock, Walsh-Ambrose, one can see that fast bowling pairs compliment each other, they push each other to perform, but most importantly, they allow the batsman little in terms of pressure relief when bowling in tandem. That said, team situations differ from generation to generation. So many factors come in to play when making such comparisons that one cannot come to complete agreement. Personally, I would rate Imran Khan the better allround cricketer, but Wasim Akram the better bowler. Akram perfected what Khan (to some extent)instigated.

  • Don Bradman on September 9, 2009, 13:38 GMT

    Khan taught Wasim how to bowl. He helped him modify his action, showed him arsenal of tricks most importantly the art of reverse swing (that is no more considered a cheat only because now West is doing that too!!), groomed him into a cricket ball magician and the list goes on. However, Wasim developed into the GREATEST bowler of ALL time not just by coaching, he did it himself. I must ask cricinfo (or some other stats guru) how many wickets Wasim lost due to overstepping (I think at least a 100 in tests, so add those if he were a bit lucky). This is an endless debate since it is like who is better the teacher or the student.

  • A Ali on September 9, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    Pakistan has produced 4 great fast bowlers, Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. In my openion Waqar was the best fast bowler of all times, his strike rate proves it.

  • aman on September 9, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    Waqar is the best fast bowler Pakistan has ever produced.

  • alpglk on September 9, 2009, 13:09 GMT

    I think its quite exciting to join such a debate.. it isnt like comparing the batting greatness of Don Bradman and Chris Martin.. both are great.. one cant be taken off the pitch and the other isnt ready to be on the pitch. But Akram and Imran are two jewels of not only Pakistani Cricket but for International cricket. They played their cricket in almost two different times.. One was a classical hero the other a modern hero.

  • Hassan Farooqi on September 9, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    No doubt in my mind at all. Waqar Younis was the best bowler by far! Followed by Wasim Akram. Imran got all the hype because he had no competition. Plus he had, and still has, a very strong lobby. On the other hand Waqar had to share wickets with Wasim, Saqlain and a lot of other legendary Pakistani bowlers.

  • Sundar on September 9, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Personally I feel there is no equal to Waqar at his peak. He was simply devestating, inconsistent and expensive and I feel Ambrose was the second best bowler I have seen. I have'nt watched much of Imran at his peak, but I think Akram and he are equals. 90s was a golden decade with Waqar (early 90s)and Mushy(mid 90s) at their peak, best during those 2-3 years. Saqlain is no match to Mushy as most of Saqlains good spells have come in ODIs except the one golden series against India

  • Faheem Hussain on September 9, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    I am of a much older generation. Was Fazal Mahmood better than either Imran or Wasim? Who can forget his several 12 wicket hauls or his performance at the Oval Test in 1954?

  • Shehzad on September 9, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    As all-rounders Imran wins hands down. As bowlers I think Akram for pure skill and eventual control, although let's not forget who helped hone that skill (i.e. when to bowl what delivery) a certain Mr Khan. :)

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 9, 2009, 12:44 GMT

    My memories of Imran Khan are rather vague- those of a 10 year-old when he lifted the world cup in '92 and so I can't honestly claim to have seen him in action.

    People like me who grew up in the 90s would find it hard to believe that there could have ever been a greater bowler than Akram. He was a magician who could do anything with the ball- I'm not sure any other fast bowler of recent vintage has even come close to recreating even a fraction of the sheer magic of Akram.

  • Karan on September 9, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    Lets change the goal post and make this debate about who was the better cricket player . I dont think anyone will argue then , Imran was by far the better cricketer. He wins the debate on captaincy,batting, fielding and Fitness. Akram supporters can argue all they want , Imran was the greatest cricketer Pakistan produced. Plus Imran pulled many more women............. I am sure wasim Akram will agree with all of this and so would Javed Miandad ( who never really go along with Imran, hence you should not consider his views, because its not often that you meet an unbiased Indian or Pakistani guy )

  • aqeel on September 9, 2009, 12:12 GMT

    passion and emotions inevitably will cloud attempts at reaching logical judgments, i will give it a try though. in terms of out and out skill and natural ability i think wasim has the edge on imran , but only just. imran`s commitment and undying spirit was second to none, and not to forget his inspirational leadership qaulities and superior batsmanship makes him perhaps a greater cricketer than all other pakistani cricketers. if i had to pick one for my all time pakistani team. i honestly couldnt.i want them both!

  • Faisal on September 9, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Neither....IMO Waqar was a better bowler!

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  • Faisal on September 9, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Neither....IMO Waqar was a better bowler!

  • aqeel on September 9, 2009, 12:12 GMT

    passion and emotions inevitably will cloud attempts at reaching logical judgments, i will give it a try though. in terms of out and out skill and natural ability i think wasim has the edge on imran , but only just. imran`s commitment and undying spirit was second to none, and not to forget his inspirational leadership qaulities and superior batsmanship makes him perhaps a greater cricketer than all other pakistani cricketers. if i had to pick one for my all time pakistani team. i honestly couldnt.i want them both!

  • Karan on September 9, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    Lets change the goal post and make this debate about who was the better cricket player . I dont think anyone will argue then , Imran was by far the better cricketer. He wins the debate on captaincy,batting, fielding and Fitness. Akram supporters can argue all they want , Imran was the greatest cricketer Pakistan produced. Plus Imran pulled many more women............. I am sure wasim Akram will agree with all of this and so would Javed Miandad ( who never really go along with Imran, hence you should not consider his views, because its not often that you meet an unbiased Indian or Pakistani guy )

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 9, 2009, 12:44 GMT

    My memories of Imran Khan are rather vague- those of a 10 year-old when he lifted the world cup in '92 and so I can't honestly claim to have seen him in action.

    People like me who grew up in the 90s would find it hard to believe that there could have ever been a greater bowler than Akram. He was a magician who could do anything with the ball- I'm not sure any other fast bowler of recent vintage has even come close to recreating even a fraction of the sheer magic of Akram.

  • Shehzad on September 9, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    As all-rounders Imran wins hands down. As bowlers I think Akram for pure skill and eventual control, although let's not forget who helped hone that skill (i.e. when to bowl what delivery) a certain Mr Khan. :)

  • Faheem Hussain on September 9, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    I am of a much older generation. Was Fazal Mahmood better than either Imran or Wasim? Who can forget his several 12 wicket hauls or his performance at the Oval Test in 1954?

  • Sundar on September 9, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Personally I feel there is no equal to Waqar at his peak. He was simply devestating, inconsistent and expensive and I feel Ambrose was the second best bowler I have seen. I have'nt watched much of Imran at his peak, but I think Akram and he are equals. 90s was a golden decade with Waqar (early 90s)and Mushy(mid 90s) at their peak, best during those 2-3 years. Saqlain is no match to Mushy as most of Saqlains good spells have come in ODIs except the one golden series against India

  • Hassan Farooqi on September 9, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    No doubt in my mind at all. Waqar Younis was the best bowler by far! Followed by Wasim Akram. Imran got all the hype because he had no competition. Plus he had, and still has, a very strong lobby. On the other hand Waqar had to share wickets with Wasim, Saqlain and a lot of other legendary Pakistani bowlers.

  • alpglk on September 9, 2009, 13:09 GMT

    I think its quite exciting to join such a debate.. it isnt like comparing the batting greatness of Don Bradman and Chris Martin.. both are great.. one cant be taken off the pitch and the other isnt ready to be on the pitch. But Akram and Imran are two jewels of not only Pakistani Cricket but for International cricket. They played their cricket in almost two different times.. One was a classical hero the other a modern hero.

  • aman on September 9, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    Waqar is the best fast bowler Pakistan has ever produced.