Saturday, April 20

I was called mad for thinking of replacing Waqar Younis,i was the slowest bowler in Pakistan: Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Shoaib Akhtar recorded the fastest delivery ever bowled in international cricket against England in the 2003 World Cup. Even 17 years later, the record remains unscathed though a number of them, including Shaun Tait and Mitchell Starc have come close. However, there was a time when he was the ‘slowest bowler’ in Pakistan, going by the pacer’s recent comments.

The Rawalpindi Express said that he had to compete with bowlers, who were certainties in the national team. The competition was cut throat as the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were bowling in full throttle. And once when he talked about replacing Waqar, he was being called ‘mad’.

I had to make a name for myself: Shoaib Akhtar

“Back in the day, Mohammad Zahid, me and seven other fast bowlers, I am being very honest. I am telling you the fact and the truth. Out of seven fast bowlers then, I was the slowest bowler in Pakistan at that time. At the same time, they knew they were going to play for Pakistan,” Akhtar was quoted as saying during an interaction with Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNcricinfo’s podcast.

However, instead of throwing in the towel, Shoaib picked up the positive qualities from one and all to groom himself. He stated that he had the self-belief to take wickets at the highest level.

“Now imagine I have to surpass those seven and then get past Wasim, Waqar. And I had to make a name for myself. So, I picked up the best qualities of all these bowlers.

“There was a time when people would ask me how could I even think of replacing Waqar Younis, are you mad? And I would say – because I have the attitude. and when I am going to run I’ll own the ground. I’ll take wickets. Because I’ve learnt the trade,” he added.

In 1997, Shoaib made his debut against the West Indies in Rawalpindi and from there on, he didn’t look back. He generated some serious pace and ruffled the feathers of the best in the business. In 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, Shoaib picked up 178, 247 and 19 wickets respectively. He last played in the 2011 edition of the World Cup in the Indian sub-continent.

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