Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has admitted that he initially erred in his plans to the explosive Virender Sehwag, but stated that he worked out the right-hander with time. Akhtar also revealed that he found his own teammate Inzamam-ul-Haq as the toughest batsman to bowl to, in his career.
A revolutionary who transformed the art of opening the batting in Test cricket with his explosive style, Virender Sehwag, in his career, took an extra liking to batting against Pakistan. In nine Tests against India’s arch rivals, Sehwag scored 1591 runs at an astonishing average of 91.14 and also scored his maiden triple century against the Men in Green, in 2004. And a bowler who was caught in the crossfire of Sehwag’s onslaughts was Shoaib Akhtar, who was at the receiving end of many a bludgeoning knock from the right-hander.
Speaking to Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNcricinfo’s Videocast, Akhtar admitted that he initially got it wrong against Sehwag by bowling too short, but stated that he corrected the same towards the mid 2000s, a period where the Rawalpindi Express got the better of Sehwag on multiple occasions.
“I bowled him short initially when I should have bowled the ball that’s going away from him. After I figured him, he could not score much against me. I bowled him out on multiple occasions, including at the IPL and in Lahore in,” Akhtar told Manjrekar.
With the ability to clock over 95 mph on a consistent basis, Akhtar terrorized the best of batsmen when he initially burst on to the international scene, but the right-arm quick had an interesting choice when asked who was the toughest batsman he had bowled to. Akhtar took the name of his former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq and attested that never once in the nets was he able to dismiss the big man. Furthermore, the legendary quick also heaped praise on both Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis for their greatness.
“To be honest, it’s Inzamam-ul-Haq (the toughest batsman to bowl against). See my action is very complicated unlike Bret Lee’s but I could not bowl him out even once in the nets in 10 years. I think he could read the ball a second faster than others.
“I think Martin Crowe would have played me well too. He was a magician and very elegant. Among Indian players, Rahul Dravid is the most decorated batsman. If he won’t offer me a shot, I would not be able to penetrate his defense. I also think Jacques Kallis is one of the best all-rounders, and slip fielders cricket has ever produced.”