Pakistan’s legendary pacer Shoaib Akhtar has claimed that he was the least-quickest of the Pakistan bowling attack during his early cricketing days.
The Rawalpindi Express said: “I had to surpass major names such as legendary former pacers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in order to make a name for himself. I am telling you the fact and the truth. Out of the seven to eight fast-bowlers, I was the least-quickest bowler in the world in the Pakistan attack at that time.
“I will speak from the heart. I have told you about eight fast-bowlers. Mohammad Zahid topped that list. Now imagine that I had to try to surpass them. You have to surpass the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Not just surpass them, but make a name for yourself. What will you do?”
The 44-year-old revealed that he learnt different qualities from each bowler in order to create an impactful presence on the field. “I started picking up qualities from each of them. I learnt how to sprint from one of them, learnt the bowling action from another, learnt bowling sense from one, learnt how to train from another, learnt how to gym from one, learnt how to talk from the other. I have always believed that one must have a good voice and you should know how to speak. I also believed that you needed to have an impactful personality.”
The former pacer claimed that he knew the art of reverse-swing at the age of 16 while highlighting his attitude as the defining feature which made him stand out. “Once! came to the top, most people knew that I could do wonders and if I steered clear of controversies, then I could be something else,” he said.
“A lot of people used to tell me, ‘How can you replace Waqar? Are you mad? There are many who have attempted to do that and failed.’ I said, ‘No. You don’t understand. They never had my attitude.’ They asked me, ‘How?’ I said, ‘When I run in, I am going to own the ground.’ They asked me, ‘How are you going to do that?’ I said, ‘I am going to take wickets. I learnt the trade of how to take wickets.’ At the age of 16, we knew how to reverse-swing the ball in the nets,” Akhtar concluded.