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Was Ridiculed for Wanting to Play for Pakistan in Wasim-Waqar Era: Shoaib Akhtar

Was Ridiculed for Wanting to Play for Pakistan in Wasim-Waqar Era: Shoaib Akhtar

“A lot of people used to tell me ‘How can you replace Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, are you mad?’ There are thousands of bowlers who have come and left. I said, ‘No you don’t understand. They never had my attitude’,” Akhtar said.

Shoaib Akhtar is often hailed as the fastest bowler in the world and definitely one of the best Pakistan has seen.

But the journey to the top wasn't a smooth one for the Rawalpindi Express. In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Akhatr revealed how he was ridiculed for wanting to play for Pakistan, in a line up that had the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

“A lot of people used to tell me ‘How can you replace Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, are you mad?’ There are thousands of bowlers who have come and left. I said, ‘No you don’t understand. They never had my attitude’,” Akhtar said.

“I said ‘When I will run in, I am going to own the ground. I am going to take wickets’. They asked me how will you take wicket and then I said that I have learnt the trade of taking wickets. At the age of 16 we used to reverse-swing the ball in the nets.”

Akhtar later got into the details as to how, he wasn't even the faster bowler in the country, but yet managed to get into the Pakistan side and make a name for himself.

“I will speak from my heart. There were 8 fast bowlers, all faster than me. Now imagine, I have to surpass them and then have to surpass Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis also. What will you do then? So, I started picking qualities from each of them,” Akhtar added.

“I learnt how to sprint from one of them, learnt the bowling action from another, learnt the art of peaking from one, then training sense of one and learnt how to gym from another one. Once I came to the top, most of the people knew my capacity and understood that I could do wonders and if I steered clear of controversies then I could be something else.”

first published:June 02, 2020, 09:22 IST