Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan’s former express fast bowler, minced no words when it came to sharing his thoughts on pace bowling losing its sheen and comparing modern-day star Virat Kohli to batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.
In an exclusive, the 45-year-old opined that there is presently an embargo on cricket which he strongly feels needs to be lifted.
Shoaib Akhtar: Sachin Tendulkar Should Be Given Credit For Playing In The Single Era Of 50 Overs And Facing Likes Of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, And Shane Warne
While former batsman Sachin Tendulkar was considered the greatest of his generation, current Indian skipper Virat Kohli is also talked about in the same vein. Both batsmen have wowed the cricket fraternity with their exceptional exploits with the bat. While Sachin Tendulkar has most of the run-scoring records in cricket, Virat Kohli is surely catching up.
Shoaib Akhtar also talked about the ICC putting a lot of restrictions on the bowlers.
He questioned,”How many fast bowlers in the world have you seen who can bowl 150 kmph, and how many people are allowed to play this game according to the old wishes?”
“The ICC has put a lot of restrictions, and what do you want? You want TRP, you will get it. But if you got to see the characters, you need to lift the restrictions.”
Shoaib Akhtar was one of those bowlers who had his fair share of duels with batting great Sachin Tendulkar and he credited the former Indian legendary batsman for his skills and the game he played against what the pacer believed were world-class bowling attacks.
“There’s an embargo on cricket. How can there be three circles in the field? I mean…give Sachin Tendulkar credit and stop comparing him to Virat Kohli. He did not play the era of Sachin Tendulkar, which is like the single era of 50 overs, and then the reverse swing starts literally after 10 overs. Face that with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and the spin of Shane Warne” – Shoaib Akhtar”
Sachin Tendulkar currently holds the record for most hundreds in both Tests and ODIs. Incredibly, he retained a divine enthusiasm for the game till his last match. He also scored the first double-century in one-day cricket. In 2012, he became the first player to score 100 international centuries.
Later that year, though, he announced his retirement from ODIs. And on November 16, 2013, Sachin Tendulkar retired from Test cricket after a memorable 200th Test-the most by any player.
Shoaib Akhtar Lamented The Fact That There Was Just A Handful Of Super Fast Bowlers In Present Day Cricket
He also outlined how every team had their share of bonafide super quick bowlers who could clock 140 km ph consistently and lamented the fact there was just a handful in present-day cricket most of them being Australians like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood.
“Every team had its specialists. [Lance] Klusener, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini, there were five quality fast bowlers in every country. How many do you have now? There’s Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, but then what?”
Shoaib Akhtar was undoubtedly one of the fastest bowlers in international cricket and his 178 Test wickets and 247 ODI scalps are a testament to what he achieved when he was in his prime form.
He featured in the headlines across the world for bowling a delivery at 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph), in an ODI against England during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Shoaib Akhtar was fondly nicknamed the “Rawalpindi Express” for his speed. He was also the first bowler to be recorded bowling at 100 miles per hour and did so twice during his career.