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Shoaib Akhtar Vs. Brett Lee: Who Is Better Statistically?

Shoaib Akhtar & Brett Lee both played in the same era. Which is astounding considering that batters had to deal with both of them whether playing either versus Australia or Pakistan. Despite having more wickets than the Rawalpindi Express, Brett Lee is outpaced by Shoaib in terms of speed. Here is a small statistical comparison to find out who was better.

Shoaib Akhtar (Test Cricket)

Shoaib Akhtar just wasn’t able to play that many test games for Pakistan and never reached his full potential in Test Cricket. Nevertheless, he participated in 46 Test games for Pakistan during his career, taking 178 test wickets with an average of 25.70. This included 12 five-wicket hauls, and two 10 wickets hauls. He would have easily amassed over 400 test wickets if he had played 80-100 test matches. From 1997 through 2007, Shoaib Akhtar averaged only 4 test matches per year.

Shaoib Akhtar's iconic celebration

Brett Lee (Test Cricket)

However, Lee had a different story altogether, he was a superstar even in Test cricket for Australia. He, in stark contrast to Shoaib, played more Test matches and claimed many more scalps for Australia. Between 1999 and 2008, Brett Lee played 76 tests, an average of more than 8 per year. During his stellar career, he claimed 10 five-wicket hauls and a total of 310 Test wickets at an average of 30.62. When comparing the two players, it is evident that Brett Lee seemed to have a better career in terms of test matches played and wickets taken, while Shoaib had more 5-wicket hauls and a higher average.

Shoaib Akhtar (ODI Cricket)

Shoaib Akhtar dominated ODI cricket and his eagle celebration was a frequent sight in white ball cricket. It must be acknowledged that he made the most of his skills in this format and achieved great success. His ODI career spans from 1998 to 2011. He played 163 ODI matches and took 247 ODI wickets at a highly respectable average of 24.98. He also has four 5-wicket hauls in ODIs. Hence, he is truly regarded as a Pakistani ODI legend.

Brett Lee ecstatic after taking a wicket

Brett Lee (ODI Cricket)

Nevertheless, Brett Lee has much more ODI experience than Shoaib and about 140 more wickets than Shoaib. Between 2000 to 2012, Brett Lee participated in ODI cricket. During those 12 years, he played 221 ODIs, grabbed 380 wickets overall at a fantastic average of 23.38, and had nine career 5-wicket hauls. Hence in ODIs too, Brett Lee had a higher average, more wickets, and more 5-wicket hauls to his credit. Shoaib Akhtar cannot compete with Brett Lee’s stats in ODIs.

Conclusion

Shoaib Akhtar, in our opinion, was a unique individual a maverick of sorts who only appears once in a lifetime. However, he was unable to fully live up to his potential. He achieved a lot, but was capable of so much more. However, with over 300 wickets in both formats, Brett Lee is a true icon of the game and one of the most feared bowlers in history. In my opinion, Brett Lee is a clear winner of this contest.

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