Write & Earn
Notifications

Player battles: Waqar Younis vs Curtly Ambrose (Tests)

One was a master of reverse swing, the other was a producer of thunderbolts. It's a showdown between a Pak pace ace and a Caribbean quickie.

Waqar played 87 Tests and claimed 373 wickets at an average of 23.56

Pakistan and the West Indies have always been known for producing a crop of outstanding fast bowlers. While the West Indies dominated world cricket during the 70s and 80s, thanks to their pace quartet of Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner, Pakistan were well served by fast bowling greats such as Sarfraz Nawaz and Imran Khan in this period.

During the decade of 90s, the West Indies had a formidable pair of quickies in Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, whereas the duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis kept the fast bowling flag flying high for Pakistan.

Though all these bowlers have a legendary stature, the two men we are going to pit against each other today have developed a cult following among their fans. Though they possessed different style, their role was similar in their respective teams.

Here’s a showdown between the mercurial Waqar Younis, and the menacing Sir Curtly Ambrose in Test matches.

Statistical clash

Statistically, there is not much to choose between the two as both have standout numbers. In his 14-year long career, Waqar played 87 Tests and claimed 373 wickets at an average of 23.56. On the other hand, Ambrose’s 12-year tryst with red ball cricket earned him 405 scalps at 20.99.

Ambrose may have a better average here, but Younis compensates for it with an astonishing strike rate of 43.4, which is superior to the Caribbean pacer’s 54.5. The West Indian is a runaway winner in terms of economy rate, though (2.30 compared to Waqar’s 3.25).

Waqar Younis

Matches

Wickets

BBI

Economy

Average

Strike Rate

5W

10W

87

373

7/76

3.25

23.56

43.4

22

5


Curtly Ambrose

Matches

Wickets

BBI

Economy

Average

Strike Rate

5W

10W

98

405

8/45

2.30

20.99

54.5

22

3


Home and away numbers

With a height of two-metre, Ambrose gave the impression of a giant running in to wreak havoc

Both bowlers did well both home and abroad. While there is not much to choose between Ambrose’s home and away performances, Younis registered better home records. The Pakistani pacer averaged 20.29 on home pitches as compared to 25.96 on foreign soil.


Waqar Younis


Matches

Wickets

BBI

Economy

Average

Strike Rate

5W

10W

Home

33

162

7/76

3.14

20.29

38.7

11

3

Away

49

197

6/34

3.29

25.96

47.3

11

2

Neutral

5

14

4/44

3.73

27.50

44.1

0

0


Curtly Ambrose


Matches

Wickets

BBI

Economy

Average

Strike Rate

5W

10W

Home

52

203

8/45

2.27

21.19

55.7

11

2

Away

46

202

7/25

2.33

20.78

55.3

11

1


Head to head tussle

In matches played between the two nations, Younis did better than his Caribbean counterpart. While Ambrose took only 42 wickets at 27.85 from 14 Tests against the Asian powerhouse, Waqar played one game less against the West Indies and yet managed to claim 55 scalps at 23.32.

Younis’ record against West Indies


Matches

Wickets

BBI

Economy

Average

Strike Rate

5W

10W

In WI

6

24

5/104

3.57

24.83

41.7

1

0

In Pak

5

23

5/46

3.43

21.34

37.3

2

0

In UAE

2

8

4/44

3.66

24.50

40.1

0

0

Total

13

55

5/46

3.53

23.32

39.6

3

0


Ambrose’s record against Pakistan


Matches

Wickets

BBI

Economy

Average

Strike Rate

5W

10W

In WI

9

27

4/34

2.41

29.33

72.8

0

0

In Pak

5

15

5/35

2.50

25.20

60.2

1

0

Total

14

42

5/35

2.44

27.85

68.3

1

0

Different styles, similar roles

Younis and Ambrose had different bowling styles. While the Pakistani pacer was an exponent of reverse swing, the Caribbean quickie relied more on seam movement and bounce. With a height of two-metre, Ambrose gave the impression of a giant running in to wreak havoc. Younis had a less intimidating appearance but was able to destroy oppositions with his well- disguised reverse swinging yorkers.

To use an analogy from popular TV series, Game of Thrones, Ambrose was akin to the mighty wildling, Wun Wun, who used his brute force to quell rivals, whereas Younis was more like the cunning lord, Petyr Baelish, who always kept his moves under the wrap.

Varied as their methods were, they had similar roles in their teams. Both hunted in pair. While Waqar operated in tandem with Wasim, Ambrose’s partner in crime was Walsh. Just as Wasim was considered more natural than Waqar, Ambrose was rated a notch below Walsh in the pantheon of fast bowling greats from the Caribbean Islands.   

Defining spells and impact

Ambrose and Younis fashioned a number of famous victories in the longer version of the game for their sides. The West Indian, though, bagged 14 Man of the Match awards during his career, which was eight more than what Pakistani pace ace brought home.

Both speedsters churned out a number of series defining spells. The spell Ambrose is best remembered for came in the fifth and final Test of Frank Worrell Trophy against Australia at Perth in 1992-93 season. With series locked at 1-1, Border won the toss and opted to bat first.

The home side was well placed at 85 for 2 before Ambrose orchestrated an extraordinary batting collapse, claiming 7 for 1 in 32 balls. Australia plummeted to 119 all out and suffered an innings defeat as the West Indies took home the coveted trophy.

Curtly’s another moment of glory arrived in the Trinidad Test of the 1993-94 season where he claimed 6/24 to shoot out England for a paltry 46.

Though Waqar came up with many memorable spells in swing friendly conditions of England and New Zealand, his greatness lied in conjuring up fast bowling masterclass even on dead wickets of the subcontinent. In the Faisalabad Test against New Zealand in October 1990, Younis claimed 7/76 in the first innings and 5/54 in the second to script his side’s 65-run victory over the visitors.

Fetching more content...