Saturday, April 20

‘Holy Smoke! Who is this guy?’ – When Shoaib Akhtar took Brett Lee by surprise with his pace

Brett Lee and Shoaib Akhtar. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Shoaib Akhtar was fast and furious ever since he started playing for Pakistan from November 1997 onwards. Even at a young age, he got under the skin of the best in the business with his sheer pace and venom. When the speedster burst on to the scene, it even took Brett Lee by surprise. Interestingly, Lee first got the glimpse on Akhtar on television in a Test match.

Akhtar made his debut against the West Indies in Rawalpindi. Lee, who himself has crossed the 160 kmph barrier a few times, was amazed by how Shoaib generated pace. The former Australian speedster said that he loved every bit of Akhtar’s bowling.

Shoaib Akhtar is so exciting to watch: Brett Lee

“I was watching Pakistan playing a Test match on TV and I see this guy with beautiful flowing black hair running in with a quick arm action & I thought ‘Holy smoke! That is good pace. Who is this guy? What’s this guy’s name?” Lee was quoted as saying on Instagram Live with Pommie Mbangwa, reported by Cricbuzz.

“It must have been the late 90s, perhaps 1997 or 1998 when I first saw Shoaib Akhtar bowling. I just thought that he’s so exciting to watch. I don’t care what country someone comes from, if they are bowling quick I just love to watch it,” he added.

Back in 2003 during the World Cup in the African continent, Shoaib bowled the fastest delivery in international cricket. In the match against England, he clocked 161.3 kmph and even after 17 years, the record remains unscathed.

Earlier, Shoaib said that he was amongst the slowest bowlers in Pakistan. But instead of giving up, he kept eking out positives from the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. He was also being called ‘mad’ once when he wished to replace Waqar.

In 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, Shoaib managed 178, 247 and 19 wickets respectively. Back in 2008, he also played for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He last played for Pakistan in the 2011 edition of the World Cup in the Indian sub-continent.

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