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'He could hit the bottom of the stumps at will'
Part three: Allan Donald on the most intimidating bowlers he has seen: Waqar Younis, the ready wrecker
Produced by: Gokul Chakravarthy, Interviewer: Nagraj Gollapudi
May 28, 2013
'He could hit the bottom of the stumps at will'May 28, 2013
I came across this young kid playing for Surrey in 1990*. Bob Cotton, who was our coach at Warwickshire, said that they have got this young Pakistani guy who bowls very, very quick. His name was Waqar Younis.
I'd never seen him bowl before. When I got to the ground the next morning, I asked Alec Stewart about this kid, you know, where did he come from. He said he's playing some club cricket here in London in the Surrey league and they immediately invited him to some trials and he made his debut against us.
He got 12 wickets in the game and it's the most that I've seen anyone hit the stumps regularly. I think that not only that, you talk about intimidating bowlers, this guy had an intimidating run-up. He charged in from quite a long way, swung the new ball at such pace. I think where his greatest asset was his speed through the air. He made the new ball talk. It was predictable, because he only swung it one way, which you could then set yourself up for, but at very, very high speed. You're talking about 90-95 miles an hour at best. But then he started to reverse the ball.
Now, Wasim [Akram] swung it both ways. Waqar swung it just into the right-hander, but he hardly missed his target. I think that he was also a very aggressive, fiesty young man. Really did let you know when he was around. You talk about top-order batsmen having to deal with him, but he was severe on tailenders. We'd just always talk [in] team meetings about not letting tailenders hang around. He made sure of that. And not only did he try and break your foot, but also some other parts of your body.
I think just his sheer speed through the air and where [he hit] the bottom of the stump at will is what made him such a wonderful bowler to watch.
The number of times as a young kid that he spent in Pakistan learning how to bowl in those flat wickets, learning the art of reverse swing, having control of that reverse swing was even more so impressive. Having played against Waqar over the years and his destruction down the order, you often sit there and you have to use the new ball, go hard at the new ball, because you know what you're going to get. The ball's going to reverse and these two guys are going to clean you up, as we found out.
The two Ws became unstoppable and feared across the world. The damage they have done wherever they have gone with Pakistan has been just fantastic. For me, those two are the best two I've ever played against. What made them so special is the competition between the two of them. They always tried to outdo each other, and I think there was an element of jealousy and that made them even more fearsome, because they wanted to outdo each other so badly. So those two are just fantastic to watch.
*03.25 GMT, May 28, 2013: The year was incorrectly mentioned as 1993. This has been changed
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