Wasim Akram and Glen Mcgrath rank amongst the greatest bowlers of all time.It would take a photo-finish to morally separate them.Mcgrath was a bowling metronome like a programmed machine ,Wasim was a magician with the creativity of a musical composer.Mcgrath could bowl six deliveries in the same spot in the same over,Akram could bowl 6 different types of balls in an over.Akram posessed unmatched variations of reverse -swing in his armoury while Mcgrath posessed control or acuracy not surpased by any fast-bowler. What arguably let down Wasim was his diabetes,the internal politics of Pakistan cricket and his slip fielders dropping catches.Maybe playing for a top Australian sided Wasim would have been more successful.Wasim also did not bowl on as many bouncy tracks as Mcgrath did. Wasim Akram to be was fast bowling's equivalent of a magician.He could do things with a cricket ball which no pace bowler could ever do.Wasim was like a surgeon,sculptor and poet moulded into one.There have been quicker,more accurate.Wasim Akram posessed the total package of the complete fast bowler.Wasim was the equivalent of a magician to fast bowling.At his best he reminded one of a musical composer with his extraordinary innovations of reverse swing.He could do things with a cricket ball that no pace bowler could ever do.He could bowl six different deliveries in an over. To me had Wasim done full justice to his potential he should have had figures of the equivalent the legendary Sydney Barnes had in his era or been the 'Bradman' of fast bowling.No paceman posessed Wasim's creative genius who was the equivalent of a Michelangelo or Rembrandt to fast bowling.Wasim had deliveries in his armoury which greats like Marshall or Lillee did not have.He could bowl more unplayable deliveries or capture wickets with them than nay other pace bowler.Alan Donlad rated Wasim as the most complete fast bowler he ever saw. Glen Mcgrath was the most complete post-war fast -medium pace bowler of all.He posessed all the essential components in almost perfect proportion be it pace ,bounce,control or movement.Above all he assesed a batsman's weaknesses like a computer.He posessed the consistency of a machine.There were more versatile bowlers,faster bowlers,bowlers who moved the ball more but none who could produce the perfect ball to capture an opponent's wicket.The batsman were perplexed whether to play back or forward.Richard Hadlee had equally good control but not as effective bounce or as subtle variations.Capturing 563 wickets at 21.63 arguably make him the finest of all pace bowlers .Mcgrath was like an architect and engineer rolled into one. So overall,who would I choose in preference in an all-time xi and who was the better bowler. Points favouring Wasim 1.He got half his scalps on flat subcontinent tracks.His mastery of reverse swing enabled him to overcome the barriers of the subcontinent's pancakes.Wasim also was not supported often by his fielders or his team's batsmen. 2.Wasim had far more variations.He would often dismiss batsmen with deliveries that were unplayable while Mcgrath would gain wickets often through mistakes created by batsmen.Brian Lara and Jacques Kallis rated him the best pace bowler they ever faced.Alan Donald rated him the most complete. 3.Wasim was faster and could move the ball far more. 4.More 5 and 10 wicket hauls compared to no.of tests played than Mcgrath.Mcgrath got 5 wickets 28 times in 124 tests while Wasim got 5 wickets 25 times in 104 tests.Wasim had 5 10 wicket hauls in compariosn's to Mcgrath's 3.Also Wasim has better bowling average in games won.In peak period a marginally better strike rate than Mcgrath of 46.7. 5.In terms of pure match -performances in a career evaluated in rating sof test match bowlers in 2009 by Anantha narayana on cricinfo cordon almost on level woth Mcgrath with 18.7 as against Mcgrath's 18.9.Match performances in career asses nature of opposition,nature of wickets,situation of game etc.Had he got better support from his fielders he may have even surpassed Mcgrath in this respect. Points favouring Glen Mcgrath 1.Possessed more control and accuracy 2.More intelligent and could analyze opponent's weaknesses better. 3.Statistically better with 149 more scalps and a more economical average by 2 runs.Mcgrath has a strike rate of 51.9 compared to Wasim's 54.6 and best figures of 8-23 and 8-38 while Wasim's best is 7-119. 4.More top order wickets from 1-6 position and percentage of scalps in games won.He also ran through batting line-ups more.Mcgrath has 66.9% of top order wickets than Wasim Akram's 56.9% of top-order scalps. If I had to choose a world xi i would choose Wasim Akram,principally because of his left-arm variety to join Lillee,Marshall,Warne etc in the attack.Akram's incredible versatality would be a greatest menace to opponents than Mcgrath's consistency.For a place in an all-time xi many more cricketers have chosen Wasim over Mcgrath.Wasim got 27 votes to be selected in the all-time xi above Mcgrath's 8 votes.Wasim was chosen in the all-time world xi in the overall selection of 100 cricket legends of Richard Sydenham.To me more than Mcgrath's ultra-accuarte line and intelligence Wasim's magical innovation sand mastery of bowling art would be a greater threat for opponents.Generally,Wasim was the more difficult to face at his best. Still if you go by statistics,Mcgrath is better.Although Wasim had more all-round skill over a prolonged period he could cause as much trouble as Wasim against batsmen like Viv Richards or Gavaskar.In Anantha Narayan's statistiacl analysis of 15 most faersome bowlers in August 2010 Mcgrath is ranked 2nd behind Murlitharan while Akrm is placed at 13th place considering a huge range of factors. Below posting sections from Anantha Narayans' s analyis in August 10, 2010 The fearsome fifteen: a look at the great bowlers The following measures are used. 1. Wickets captured. 2. Bowling strike rate (Bpw). 3. Bowling accuracy (Rpo). (These two are components of the Bowling average, but have been considered independently). 4. Quality of wickets captured (Average of dismissed batsmen's batting averages) 5. Away bowling average. 6. % of top order wickets captured. 7. Team load borne by bowler (balls bowled and wickets captured). 8. Ratio of bowling average to peer bowling average - all teams. 9. Ratio of bowling average to peer bowling average - other bowlers of own team. 10.Win index (Combination of two ratios)- (% of win wickets to career wickets and % of win wickets to team win wickets). Just to summarize, Muralitharan leads in 2 measures (Wickets and Team load factor). The other 8 measures are led by Ambrose (RpO), Garner (Away bowling average), Imran Khan (Dismissed batsman quality), Waqar Younis (Bowling strike rate), Marshall (Peer comparison to all bowlers), Hadlee (Peer comparison to own team bowlers), McGrath (Top order wickets ratio) and Warne (Win index). A very fair distribution of the top positions with nine bowlers leading in one or more measures. There is no domination by one bowler. Muralitharan M 87.54 10.00 7.52 9.10 7.87 7.74 6.99 10.00 9.53 9.25 9.54 McGrath G.D 85.38 7.04 8.18 8.98 7.46 9.70 10.00 6.85 9.84 7.49 9.84 Hadlee R.J 84.89 5.39 8.42 8.29 9.18 9.31 8.75 8.26 9.33 10.00 7.96 Marshall M.D 83.36 4.70 9.30 7.99 8.92 9.35 8.87 6.89 10.00 7.63 9.73 Ambrose C.E.L 82.72 5.06 7.62 10.00 7.77 9.98 9.46 6.76 9.76 8.04 8.27 Imran Khan 81.00 4.53 7.79 8.74 10.00 7.99 9.21 7.40 9.09 8.98 7.27 Lillee D.K 80.76 4.44 8.17 7.61 9.54 8.70 9.33 7.62 8.59 7.74 9.01 Donald A.A 79.75 4.12 9.24 7.19 7.79 8.93 9.92 7.01 9.24 7.80 8.51 Garner J 79.34 3.24 8.41 9.12 8.61 10.00 8.09 6.74 9.73 7.54 7.86 Warne S.K 78.63 8.85 6.99 8.18 7.17 8.33 6.35 7.77 8.35 6.63 10.00 Trueman F.S 76.86 3.84 8.72 8.35 6.91 8.04 9.04 6.71 9.25 7.62 8.38 Wasim Akram 76.37 5.18 7.60 8.49 7.59 8.77 7.86 6.92 8.77 7.51 7.68 Waqar Younis 75.84 4.66 10.00 5.02 7.89 7.99 8.72 6.63 8.79 7.32 8.81 Kumble A 71.40 7.74 5.16 7.95 7.96 4.26 7.64 8.21 7.14 7.33 8.01 Kapil Dev N 68.24 5.43 5.61 7.49 9.25 5.83 9.84 6.14 7.00 7.70 3.96 So to conclude if I based my selection on statistics then Glen Mcgrath would win.However if I based it on all-round skill of a fast bowler them Wasim Akram would be the victor.In the end we should ask ourselves whether we make ranking son the basis of statistics or on skill.Perhaps Mcgrath and Wasim rolled into one comprised the perfect pace bowler.