Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena named the toughest bowler he has ever faced in his career.
Even though the legendary batter came up against some of the best players during his long career, Jayawardena said it was a nightmare facing former Pakistani skipper Wasim Akram.
The Colombo-born said that it was hard to face the wily Akram irrespective of the format or the condition of the ball (new or old). On the ICC Review Show, Mahela Jayawardena said:
"Hands down, Wasim Akram. I made my debut when he [Akram] was at his peak or the backend of his career. It was a nightmare to face him as it was tough because he is challenging you with the new ball, he is coming with the old ball. It doesn't matter what format it is. It was 4 PM in the afternoon of the second day of a Test and he is still going to beat your bat."
Mahela made his international debut for Sri Lanka in 1997.
Mahela Jayawardena on the factors that set Wasim Akram apart
Mahela Jayawardena stated that Wasim Akram's quick-arm action made it quite difficult to pick him. He further added that the left-arm pacer used to create some tough angle bowling both from over and around the wicket. Akram's ability to swing the ball at any stage made him a tough candidate to face.
The former batter added:
"He was a tough, tough bowler to face. He had a really quick-arm action through the crease as well and it was tough to get into that rhythm, that tempo of your movement. And then he used to come round the wicket, over the wicket, create angles. He would make it swing with the old ball, new ball."
Mahela represented Sri Lanka in 149 Test matches and 448 ODI games. He scored 11,814 runs in the longest format of the game while he accrued 12,650 runs in the 50-over format.