Wasim, Waqar honoured by Malinga praise

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Malinga had said he had learnt the art of bowling yorkers after watching Wasim and Waqar in his childhood

COLOMBO: Pakistan pace legends Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis said on Wednesday they were honoured to hear that their devastating armoury of yorkers had inspired record-breaking Lasith Malinga.

The 27-year-old Sri Lankan took a career-best 6-38, including a hat-trick – his second in World Cups after he famously took four-in-four against South Africa at Guyana in 2007 – in Tuesday’s crushing nine-wicket win over Kenya.

Malinga later admitted he learnt the art of bowling yorkers after watching Wasim and Waqar in his childhood.

“I take this as a compliment from the most destructive bowler in the world today,” Wasim told AFP. “Malinga is intelligent, awkward and that’s what makes him one of the most difficult bowlers to face.”

Wasim, one of the greatest left-arm pacemen ever to play the game, said Malinga’s round arm action adds beauty to his bowling. “It’s one of the spices of modern day cricket and I think with age on his side, his never-say-die attitude will take him to places in the years to come,” said Wasim, who took 414 Test and 502 ODI wickets during his career.

Waqar, currently Pakistan’s coach, praised Malinga as one of the best. “He is one of the best bowlers in this tournament. The Kenyans were not the toughest side, but still he bowled straight every time with the yorkers, it was amazing,” Waqar said.

Waqar, remembered also for his toe-crushing yorkers, said it was pleasing to watch a bowler like Malinga. “It reminds you of your own good days. As long as he doesn’t do it against us I am happy,” said Waqar of Malinga, who missed Pakistan’s 11-run win over Sri Lanka, due to a back strain. Waqar said Malinga’s action helps him get the reverse swing.

“It is also pleasing to know that he has learnt by looking at me or Wasim, but I also think that his action is such that it suits reverse swing which is the key.

“Everybody knows how to do it (reverse swing) now, everybody knows how the ball goes, but not many people can do it. He has a unique action, has got a slingy action and that is why it’s more effective.”