Striving for greatness at the professional level may end up creating rifts among teammates. If two players share the same intensity and attributes, then their chances of becoming friendly adversaries increase. Successful partners helping the team's cause, these top performers also enjoy a healthy rivalry that helped them strive for perfection.
These friendly rivalries, though, actually end up benefiting the team and only rarely become detrimental to the side. With each player trying to out-do the other and assert their dominance in the team, fans benefit by witnessing fireworks on the cricketing field.
Many rivalries tend to make news and if those continue over some time, greatness is sometimes achieved. In this article we locate five such examples of rivalries within a team that helped them achieve new heights.
Note: The list is in no particular order.
1. Wasim Akram versus Waqar Younis (Pakistan)
Potentially, the greatest fast bowling pair the world has ever seen. The Pakistani pair of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram sent shivers down the spine of world-class batsmen when they operated in tandem with both the new and old ball.
With over 1700 international wickets between them, the two Ws terrorized the world with their command over the unique art of reverse swing. They formed a formidable pair in both forms of the game and were termed the "Burewala Express".
Waqar Younis made his debut in the same match as Sachin Tendulkar in 1989 while Akram made it to the national playing XI four years earlier in 1985. Both masters of swing bid adieu to the game in 2003, having won the CWC in 1992 under Imran Khan and ending as runners-up in the 1999 edition.
2. Rohit Sharma versus Virat Kohli (India)
Virat Kohli has created an aura of greatness over the past decade. His unparalleled skill and consistency have helped him scale new heights and established him as a modern great. However, one man is, slowly but surely, catching up. His deputy in the limited-overs format, Rohit Sharma is another great in the making.
Sharma's heroics in the CWC 2019 earned him the tag of the best player in the world in limited-overs format from Kohli himself. Sharma amassed 648 runs with five centuries in the edition. While Kohli is fighting his way to equal Sachin Tendulkar's 100 centuries and other rare records, Sharma has also hit a purple patch which cannot be overlooked. Both have been neck-to-neck in terms of runs scored in a year as far as the limited-overs format is concerned.
But with consistent success over the years, Sharma's leadership qualities in the IPL also made him a strong contender for the role of captain. Now and then, rumours suggesting a rift between the two batters float in. Even eminent experts of the game and former cricketers have voted for a split captaincy, posing a threat to Kohli's stronghold over the team.
3. Curtly Ambrose versus Courtney Walsh (West Indies)
The duo took 924 Test wickets in 230 games and remained at the top of the tree before being overtaken by Stuart Broad and James Anderson of England. Although there were talks about rifts between the two, on the field, they displayed a unique synchronisation and complemented each other beautifully.
After retirement, both put the rivalry to an end and explained how their friendship over the years helped them perform consistently in the middle.
4. Dennis Lillee versus Jeff Thomson (Australia)
Before the famous West Indies bowlers of the 70s and 80s ruled the roost, Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson were the kings of pace bowling. No bowling duo was as feared as the two Aussies, who showed absolutely no mercy even towards batsmen wearing the least protective gear.
They claimed a combined 555 wickets in 121 matches for Australia between 1972 to 1984. With their nasty sledging and aggressive attitude, they rattled anyone who came in their path.
Before a shoulder injury affected Thomson's pace in his final years, the two had established themselves as one of the all-time best bowling pairs in the history of the game.
5. Jimmy Anderson versus Stuart Broad (England)
Undoubtedly, these are two the modern greats of the game. The rivalry to better each other's record is driving them to scale new heights together. Both bowlers have kept themselves immensely fit over the years, having played more than 135 Tests each.
James Anderson has more wickets, 584, than any other pacer in the world. Following closely is Stuart Broad with 485 wickets and sitting fourth on the top pacers list. Together, they have racked up 1069 wickets in 289 Tests in 13 years.Published 01 May 2020, 23:56 IST