Shoaib Akhtar Reveals The Name of The Batsman Whom He Wanted To Hit
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar also known as the “Rawalpindi Express” during his playing days revealed that how he wanted to “hit” the Aussie opener Matthew Hayden during a frank social media discussion.
He posted a meme on his official Twitter handle which claimed that he had injured 19 batsmen and had forced them to retire hurt. He conceded that he never enjoyed hitting other batsmen apart from a certain Matthew Hayden.
“I never enjoyed it but apart from one, asking his fans and followers to predict the batsman. He later went on to reveal that is was none other than Matthew Hayden. The duo was involved in several memorable duels from the series in 2002 where Hayden scored a famous desert storm century in Sharjah and yet another ton during Pakistan’s tour of Australia in 2005.
But their animosity goes back to the days when Hayden wasn’t yet a proven international star and had played only seven Tests for Australia till then. Hayden was batting for Queensland when Akhtar attacked him with a barrage of short deliveries and the southpaw had to wear many blows to the upper part of his body. Akhtar wasn’t really impressed with Hayden’s attacking tactics and hence came out his attack.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Akhtar revealed how he badly wanted to hit Hayden during his playing days but also conceded the fact they are best mates now.
“It was Matthew Hayden I wanted to hit badly during my playing days & I did that many times during test & practice games & now we r best mates,” Akhtar wrote.
But now we are best of friends now & I think he's 1 of the most generous & kind human being I ever met is Matthew Hayden.
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) July 25, 2017
They were involved in several more duels and in the 2004 series in Australia, Akhtar scalped Hayden three times in five Tests. Both wanted to challenge each other and it was evident from the way they played the game.
The duo again faced each in the All Star series in the USA starring many former greats of the game and this time it was Akhtar who got the better of Hayden, as the southpaw flicked a leg side delivery straight to the wicket keeper.
Hayden was not the only batsman to be constantly troubled by Akhtar, as former World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting rated Shoaib Akhtar’s spell at the WACA in 1999 as the fastest he had ever faced in his career. Former Aussie opener Justin Langer who forged a formidable opening partnership with Hayden revealed their plans against Akhtar and how they worked out to get the better of him.
“Different bowlers, you had to treat differently. With Shoaib Akhtar, we knew that if we wound him up, he’d try and bowl faster and faster. And the faster he’d try to bowl, he’d give you a couple of balls to hit for four every over,” Langer said.
Meanwhile, former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni revealed earlier in the year that Akhtar was the most difficult bowler he faced in his career. Dhoni played against Akhtar only 10 times (5 in Tests and 5 in ODI’s) but in those few matches Akhtar had made his mark and enjoyed a good success especially in the limited overs.
“Very simple reason: he was quick, he was fast, he could bowl a yorker, he could bowl a bouncer but you never expected a beamer. He was a bit unpredictable (but) he was fun to play against,” Dhoni had said.
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