Australia’s Mitchell Johnson may have threatened some of the best batting line-ups in world cricket with his lethal pace, but Pakistan coach Waqar Younis says that the left-arm fast bowler is yet to reach Wasim Akram’s level.
For Waqar, who formed half of one of world cricket’s most deadly pace duos in the 1990s, Akram remains the benchmark for all left-arm pacers.
“I wouldn’t compare anyone to Wasim Akram, that’s for sure, because he’s a legend and has done wonders for Pakistan over the last decade or so,” Waqar was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald about his former teammate, who is ninth on the all-time wicket-takers list with 414.
“He (Johnson) has got a long way to go if he wants to compete with Akram, but he’s definitely a threat and a very fine bowler.”
Waqar’s comments come after a stellar run for Johnson during which he has taken 59 wickets in the past 12 months to re-establish himself as one of the most lethal bowlers in international cricket.
With 264 wickets, the 32-year-old Johnson needs 28 wickets to pass Craig McDermott and move into Australia’s top five wicket-takers’ list and could do so as early as this summer if he continues his red-hot run.
And none of the world’s leading bowlers during the past one year has come close to matching Johnson’s average of 16 and strike rate of a wicket every 32 balls.
Johnson will find the pitches in the United Arab Emirates less helpful than the tracks back home and in South Africa but Pakistan still rate him highly.
“The last few seasons he has definitely changed his mode. He’s become a lot better bowler, he’s attacking,” Waqar said.