Home > Features > Moments in history >

Waqar Younis: Who revolutionised fast bowling in modern era

Waqar Younis

Waqar Younis…  the master of the reverse swing © Getty Images

A great fast bowler at work often resembles a tiger on the prowl for his kill – studying his victims and setting traps to deceive them. For batsmen, survival is often the foremost thought. Great fast bowlers in history have often hunted in packs, which heightened the misery of the batsmen.

In the assembly line of great fast bowlers that Pakistan has produced, Waqar Younis has been a marvel – a man who revolutionised fast bowling in modern day cricket.

Waqar Younis, born on November 16, 1971, was Pakistan’s cricketing version of the nuclear weapon in the 1990s and early 2000s. His partnership with the legendary Wasim Akram was lethal. Waqar made his debut against India at Karachi on November 15, 1989 – a day short of his 18th birthday. It was a memorable occasion for cricket as Waqar walked into Test cricket alongside 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar. While their promise and talent was evident, little did anyone know the effect and the influence they would have on their respective sides in the years to come.

In his first innings in Test cricket, Waqar scalped four wickets – which included quality batsmen such as Mohammad Azharuddin and Sanjay Manjrekar. Tendulkar too was dismissed by Waqar in his very first innings in Test cricket. Waqar also hit the young Tendulkar on his face in the fourth Test at Karachi during a fiery spell at Sialkot.

As the years progressed, Waqar perfected the art of reverse swing and gave it shape. It added a new dimension to cricket as the fast-bowlers could trick their opponents even as the modern game tilted in favour of the batsmen. He would often target the base of the stump – deliveries that would swing late, leaving the batsmen with no time to adjust. With such deception, he could make the best in business look silly and awkward in the middle. The toe-crushers would present batsmen with only two options – either risk fracture of their foot, or let the ball hit the stumps. The dismissal of Brian Lara in the below video is a classic example:

Waqar boasts of a phenomenal record in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Here are his numbers:

M

Wkts

Avg

SR

5WI

10WM

Innings Best

Match Best

Tests

87

373

23.56

43.4

22

5

7-76

13-135

ODIs

262

416

23.84

30.5

13

7-36

7-36

In all parameters, it is an outstanding record. The average and strike-rate in particular reflect his effectiveness and the ability to pick wickets. Irrespective of the format, he maintained an average around 23 – and the batsmen weren’t given much of an opportunity. The tally of match hauls is also impressive – a phenomenal 13 fivers in ODIs

An analysis of the way in which he dismissed his batsmen makes an even more interesting reading. He has a high percentage of bowled and leg-before victims, which shows the number of times he attacked the stumps.

Total

Bowled

LBW

Tests

373

102

110

ODIs

416

151

73

It is evident that the majority of his dismissals were in the said mode as he beat the batsmen with pace. Either they were too late to react or would get in line and fumble. These numbers truly tell the story of the kind of bowler he was. Instead of relying on the batsman to play a false stroke, he would take matters into his own hands and aim to shatter the stumps.

Wasim Akram (L) with Waqar Younis

Wasim Akram (left) who forged a lethal partnership with Waqar Younis (right) © Getty Images

Waqar’s career didn’t end the way one would have imagined. He was Pakistan’s captain during their disastrous campaign at the 2003 World Cup and lost that responsibility and his place immediately after the tournament. A year down the line he called it a day as a comeback looked a distant dream. He is now a respected figure in the commentary box where his pearls of wisdom on fast bowling is great education..

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

Dolphins vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 4: Highlights

Don Bradman plays his final innings in England

Pananmal Punjabi: A nonagenarian Test opener

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights

Shahid Afridi to quit other formats to focus on T20s

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi says his team are not afraid of Mitchell Johnson

CLT20 2014: KXIP skipper George Bailey praises Akshar Patel

CLT20 2014: Glenn Maxwell thrilled with two close games at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 Key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

Nip Pellew — one of the greatest fielders of all time

James Franklin: Barbados Tridents have youngsters who can win games

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

From Coke Zero to Mahindra Scorpio, the changing face of Indian e-commerce

Latest Cancer Research: Biosensors to detect risk of developing cancer

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: Eyes on Jitu Rai, Dipika Pallikal-Joshna Chinappa face-off

Wickedleak Wammy Desire 3 tablet with 7-inch display and Android KitKat launched for Rs 5,999

World Alzheimer’s Day 2014: Book to spread awareness about dementia

Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate to air on October 5

Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 7 winner Ashish Sharma: I have had thoughts of quitting the show several times

EPL Table & Results: Points Table and Team Standings at 2014-15 Barclays Premier League Week 5

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here