Touching the mark of 100 miles per hour (160.934 kilometers per hour) during an international match has been a dream for every seamer in the world. On this very day, almost two decades ago, legendary seamer Shoaib Akhtar did the unthinkable as he bowled the fastest delivery in the world during a three-match One Day International (ODI) series between Pakistan and New Zealand.
Akhtar bowled a 161.3 mph delivery to New Zealand’s Craig McMillan in the third ODI match of the series at Lahore on April 27, 2002, and in the process became the first bowler in the world to cross the 100 mph barrier.
However, much to the anguish of cricket fans, the International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to acknowledge Akhtar’s feat.
The speed gun used in the match was provided by one of the sponsors and that is said to be the reason behind ICC’s reluctance to accept it as a world record.
Even though Akhtar’s thunderbolt delivery was not included in the history books, rather than throwing a tantrum, Akhtar shrugged it off, saying, “It doesn’t matter to me whether somebody recognises the speed gun or not.”
However, Akhtar did not take long to recreate his feat again. The Rawalpindi Express again clocked at 100.24 mph (161.3 mph) against England a year later. The incident took place during a World Cup Group A match between Pakistan and England at the Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa on February 22, 2003.
And even today, Akhtar’s record still stands tall. Ace Australian seamers Shaun Tait and Brett Lee came close to breaking his record as the duo breached the 100mph mark, but failed to do so. Even Australia’s white-ball specialist Mitchell Starc came close to breaking his record, but fell short by 0.3 mph.