Born on 13 August 1975, Shoaib Akhtar is a former Pakistani cricketer and cricketer who played all the formats of the game over his fourteen-year career. Akhtar is recognized as the fastest bowler in the history of cricket, delivering a top speed of 161.3km/h in a match against England during the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Considering his subsequent high profile in cricket, Akhtar’s test career started rather modestly. He played his first test match on his home ground in Rawalpindi during the 1997/98 tour of Pakistan. He was subsequently included in the tour of South Africa during the winter of 1998, where he played in all three Tests.
Akhtar’s run of average performance started in 1999, during a pre-World Cup series against India. It was followed by top-class bowling performances in Sharjah and later in the 1999 World Cup. Over the years, Akhtar emerged as one of the most successful bowlers in the history of cricket. He is one of the only three bowlers to have ever broken the 100mph barrier in cricket history.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there’s not much going on in world cricket. All the major cricket events around the world have been cancelled. Most cricket lovers are eagerly waiting for things to get normal so that they can see their favourite cricketers on the field. Some of them are using this time to watch re-runs of their favourite matches, while others are getting more knowledge about the game. Also, cricket betting apps that were usually flooded with cricket fans are now waiting for cricket to resume so that they can cover all the events and markets.
Out of the seven bowlers then, Akhtar was the slowest
Most cricketers are using this time to interact with their fans, and Shoaib Akhtar is no exception to it. Recently, Akhtar revealed that there was a time when he was the ‘slowest bowler’ in Pakistan. He said that he had to compete with bowlers, who were certainties in the national team. The competition was cut-throat as Wasim Akram and Waqar Yonis were bowling in full throttle. And when he talked about replacing Waqar, he was being called ‘mad’.
“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 ESPNcricinfo’s podcast.
I picked the best qualities of all the players: Akhtar
Nevertheless, instead of falling by the wayside, Shoaib picked the positive qualities from everyone and used them to groom himself. He said 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,” Akhtar added.
After his debut in 1997, Shoaib never looked back. He generated some critical tempo and ruffled the feathers of the very best in the business. In 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, Shoaib took 178, 247 and 19 wickets respectively. He played his last match in the 2011 World Cup in India.