Akhtar or Lee?

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User offline. Last seen 1 year 42 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 19 Dec 2013
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Before I begin, a caveat – this article is my opinion and it’s just that - an opinion. They’re nothing more than the thoughts that run through the mind of a rambling cricket fan. My article was meant to share my thoughts and provoke healthy discussion. I appreciate the views of readers, whatever they may be. And yes, I’m Sri Lankan and a fan of the Lions.
 
So Akhtar or Lee? That begs the question. Who is the faster of the two? Is it Akhtar with his bustling pace and physical action? Or is it Lee with his more fluid and smoother action? On their day both bowlers could crank it up and be up there with the very best. Despite the rose-tinted glasses view of fast bowlers from the 70s and 80s, Akhtar and Lee were probably the fastest bowlers ever to grace the game.
 
When he was bowling, Akhtar huffed and puffed through every ball. You could tell he used every ounce of remaining energy to bowl as fast as he could only for the ball to sail over the batsman and keeper’s head and go all the way for four. This process would start all over again; the long walk back to his mark, the express train run to the wicket with hair flapping all over his shoulders, the thrusting forward of the non-bowling left arm and a quick slinging right arm bowling action and the aeroplane-like celebration at the fall of a wicket.
 
Shoaib used every muscle he had when he bowled. He gave it his very best. He didn’t pace himself, it was all or nothing for him. His speeds were constantly 155-160km/h. His pace might drop to 145-150km/h during his middle spells but he usually came back firing at the end to blow the opposition away. At his best, he was a fearsome sight, one to behold, a true fast bowler, complete with a meanness that was unmatched. He polarised opinion, even amongst his own fans, with repeated calls for dropping him. But on some level he was extremely likeable, lovable even, warts and all. He was a bratty child, an unruly teenager, the enthusiastic kid all rolled into one.
 
As for his bowling records, they speak for themselves.
 
Shoaib Akhtar - http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/con...

In the game of cricket, bowlers bowl to take wickets. Duh! I hope I didn’t sound patronising with that statement. Shoaib, however, was keener on knocking the living daylights out of batsmen. Messrs Lara, Ganguly and Kirsten – legends themselves – would attest to that.
Shoaib missed more Tests than he played. He wasn’t disciplined enough for an international sportsman. His fitness was a headache for the Pakistani selectors and so was his attitude. He was regarded as lazy and not a good team player. Whatever truth lay in these allegations, there was no denying the raw talent he possessed. Despite the ill-discipline, off-field distractions and other issues that Shoaib had to deal with in his playing career he racked up a great bowling record that may stand the test of time.
 
Moving on to Brett Lee, what can we not say about him? The clean-cut, universally liked Aussie was, ironically, the complete opposite to Shoaib in many ways. He was like a mother’s favourite son; polite, endearing, rarely (never?) got into trouble with the authorities and commanded admiration and respect everywhere. Legend has it that he even sang a Bollywood song.
 
As for his bowling, there were occasions when he was as fast as Shoaib, but despite popular opinion Lee wasn’t as fast as him. Yes, he consistently clocked 155km/h in his early spells and remains among the top three fastest bowlers of this generation, the third bowler being Shaun Tait. Lee was even able to maintain his speeds in the 145-150km/h range throughout his spells due to his fluid action and bowled the occasional 155+ effort ball but he was on average marginally slower than Shoaib. However, he came across faster by virtue of the fact that he played most of his games in Australia and England where, due to the pace and bounce of the pitches, fast bowlers seemed faster than they truly were.
 
As for who was the better bowler here are Lee’s stats.

Brett Lee - http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/co...

As it can be seen Lee had a marginally better ODI bowling than Shoaib but comparing the Test bowling of both bowlers it can be clearly seen that Shoaib was a much better Test bowler and a better bowler overall. This may come across as a surprise to some but the records speak for themselves. Bear in mind that Shoaib bowled on dry, slow Asian surfaces more often than not and the argument becomes even more compelling.
 
It should be pretty obvious who I think is the better bowler. Lee was fitter but Shoaib was the faster and better bowler. Shoaib may not have bowled as fast consistently throughout his career but even at his slowest he was still faster than anyone else, Lee included. Shoaib at his slowest was a 150km/h bowler and at his fastest was a 160 one. With him, a 140km/h delivery would be a ‘slower’ ball. But Shoaib’s infamy and badboy status made it harder for him to get the credit he truly deserved.
 
Ultimately, Shoaib and Lee were top international bowlers. They deserve to be cherished and respected for their achievements because we may never see the likes of them again.
 
Stats obtained from www.cricinfo.com

User offline. Last seen 25 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
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Joined: 8 Jul 2010
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Akthar or Lee

Shoaib was the more effective (and faster) bowler but Lee is a much better person.

In my book Lee wins hand down !

User offline. Last seen 1 year 28 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2 Mar 2017
Runs: 6
Stats cannot measure how much

Stats cannot measure how much better Shoaib was.

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