Wasim Akram, the craftiest fast bowler in the history of the game, doesn’t need one more tale to brighten his halo, but the Australian fast bowler Brett Lee has added one more amazing story to add to the myth of Akram.
Lee described an episode from the nets of KKR, the IPL team, where Akram dismissed the great Jacques Kallis, when Lee and others struggled to get a ball past him.
Lee first set the scene to his time when he was playing for KKR and Akram was the bowling coach.
“I have got arguably the greatest cricketer Jacques Kallis playing for KKR, batting at one end, and we are bowling at the centre wicket. I am saying to my bowling coach standing behind me – just happens to be Wasim Akram!,” Lee told on his YouTube Channel Brett Lee TV.
Lee says he asks Akram what he would do against Kallis. Akram tells him to make little changes in seam positions and dink this way and that. “Try and shape the ball away, you may want to change the position of the seam there,” Lee recalls Akram telling him.
Lee tries but nothing happens. “I am trying really hard to get Kallis out but this guy is going bang bang (Lee gestures with his hand how Kallis is middling everything with the full bat face). I could not get Jacques Kallis out.”
“All our bowlers were struggling with a brand new ball on a brand new wicket, and Kallis was making it look so easy.”
Akram then says he will have a go. “He warms his shoulders up, He had sand shoes on, no spikes and I ask him, what are you going to do?”
“I will take four back in and one away,” Lee recalls Akram telling him. “ I go whaaat? That simple?”
Lee then dives into the five balls of Akram vs Kallis.
“Kallis plays the first ball with a big smile, playing it back. Respect to Wasimbhai! Next ball, same result. Bang. (The full bat-faced defense). “
Now came the tiny changes. Akram tweaks the direction of the seam a touch for next ball.
“The seam is now a fraction straighter and he swings the ball back in. Once again, same result, Jacques Kallis flat bats (it),” Lee says.
Now comes the sucker punch. “As he walked back, he winked at me, and said ‘watch this!’ He turned the ball over and did that with the seam position (Lee shows how the seam is now pointing towards first slip), and took one away straight.”
“Nick and gone!”
“And I said, Mate! You are a genius!”
Lee then says to the camera, “We were bowling all day to get Jacques Kallis out and he does with exactly as he said four balls with no spikes on, uneven rubbers, and that sums up.
Lee then nails the essence of Wasim Akram the cricketer. “The reason Akram was such a great bowler as he had it upstairs (Lee taps his head). You don’t often find a bowler who is a great captain and also a great leader. He had all the three. Wasimbhai made bowling fun, it made it exciting, he made left-armers cool, a wonderful fellow, a great commentator and one of my favourites to watch.”