Lahore, Aug 30 (IANS) Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar said his former team-mate and skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq played him better than any other batsman in the world.
Shoaib, one of the fastest bowlers to have ever played the game, took a career tally of 444 international wickets.
The 41-year-old said of all the batsmen he bowled to, including batting legends Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting, no one played him better than his legendary team-mate.
“There were a lot of players in the world (I found difficult to get out) but the most difficult, who I couldn’t even get out in the nets, was Inzamam,” Shoaib was quoted as saying by fellow team-mate and pace bowling legend Wasim Akram’s talk show The Sportsman, reports cricket.com.au.
“I think there was no other player who played me better than him. His footwork was quick, he would place himself and be ready to play. He could see the ball earlier than many. I always thought he had an extra second. However fast I bowled, he had placed himself where the ball would land,” he added.
Inzamam, who played in 34 Tests with Shoaib, tallied 35 centuries in his 16-year international career and is regarded as one of Pakistan’s greatest ever batsmen. After a stint as head coach of Afghanistan, he was named Pakistan’s chief selector earlier this year and has overseen their rise to the No.1 ranking in Tests.
Inzamam, as a 22-year-old, was part of the Pakistan side that won the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, a team that was captained by Imran Khan and also featured the likes of Wasim and Javed Miandad.
Shoaib, who was a 16-year-old when Imran lifted the World Cup trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, said he was inspired by the golden generation of Pakistan cricket.
“I wanted to be a fast bowler right from day one. I wanted to bowl fast and I wanted to do this only. Inspiration is very important. Heroes are very important. If there are no heroes you cannot get inspired,” the Rawalpindi-born said.
“You try to become like them but then you blossom into something else. First I saw you (Akram) and Imran. Then I saw Waqar (Younis) and you (Akram) bowling. Then I thought to myself that if I copy you people, I might become someone,” the 41-year-old said.