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R Ashwin Awestruck By King of Swing & Reverse Swing Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram (Photo credit: ICC/Twitter)

Wasim Akram (Photo credit: ICC/Twitter)

India's spin wizard R Ashwin was left awestruck after seeing a video of the legendary left-armer Wasim Akram swing the white ball in both directions in an ODI against New Zealand.

Wasim Akram was one of the greatest bowlers in the history of ODI cricket and had the ability to make the ball swing in both directions. While he made the new ball go the conventional away, he was a master at making the old ball reverse. The great Pakistani bowler has found a new fan in R Ashwin - himself regarded as one of the finest spinners in the history of the game - after the latter was stunned by a video of the legendary pacer in which he is tormenting New Zealand’s Chris Harris with both conventional and reverse swing.

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Akram is widely considered the greatest ODI bowler in the history of the format and returned with 502 wickets in 351 bowling innings at an average of 23.52 and strike rate of 36.2. He was also brilliantly restrictive with an economy rate of just 3.89.

In a video posted on Social Media, Akram was seen tormenting a couple of New Zealand left-handers making the ball talk and move in both directions in what was the 44th over of the ODI match. Ashwin was bewildered by the skills of the left-armer and amazed at his ability to generate that kind of massive swing as late as he did in the match.

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The Indian off spinner tweeted, “Hello white ball!! Where are you these days??"

The ODI game has witnessed a massive change with two white balls being simultaneously used since 2011. This has had a huge impact on a particular aspect of bowling with a hard shiny ball resulting in a significant reduction in its ability to swing. A lot of voices have been raised highlighting the same by some former greats which include the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis.

The ICC introduced two new balls as a single white ball lost its colour and shape during the course of a 50-over innings and was also difficult to spot especially in a Day-Night encounter. This, however, tilted the balance of the format further in the batsman’s favour with more runs and higher run-rates.

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first published:May 17, 2021, 19:35 IST