He is toe-crusher when he puts a yorker and helmet-knocker when he bounces a high velocity ball. However, the one most difficult for him to get out was no other than his compatriot Inzamamul Haq, who is currently serving as Pakistan chief selector.
“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 said in an interview with Wasim Akram on his talk show The Sportsman.
“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 bowl, he had placed himself where the ball would land,” said ‘Rawalpindi Express’.
Such a comment from Don of fast-bowling, who made his Test debut in 1997, is no surprise because Inzamam is regarded as one of the Pakistan’s greatest batsmen, who played in 34 of Shoaib’s 46 Tests and tallied 35 centuries in his 16-year international career.
Shoaib Akhtar had made headlines world over after dismissing Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar off consecutive deliveries in the first match of the Asian Test Championship at Kolkata in 1999.
Shoaib, who was a 16-year-old when Pakistan lifted the World Cup trophy in 1992, 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,” he said.
“Inspiration is very important. Heroes are very important. If there are no heroes you cannot get inspired.
“You try to become like them but then you blossom into something else. First I saw you (Wasim) and Imran. Then I saw Waqar (Younis) and you bowling. Then I thought to myself that if I copy you people, I might become someone.”