Harmison describes Shoaib’s stupidity towards no. 11 in county cricket
Former England pacer Steve Harmison can never forget Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar’s behavior. At the 2003 County Championships, foreign cricketer Shoaib was throwing one ball after another at the opponent’s body. The former English fast bowler is still scared to think about it.
17 years ago today, Harmison described Shoaib’s ‘terrible bowling’ in a podcast. In 2003, the former Pakistan fast bowler went to English County to play for Durham. Shoaib did this during a match against Yorkshire on Chester-le-Street, the ground known as Riverside in England.
He hit Yorkshire batsman Steve Kirby one by one that day. Kirby was not an expert batsman. He went down to bat at number 11. That was the reason for Shoaib’s ‘aggression’. He lost control of himself because of the frustration of not being able to get the wicket of a no.11.
Kirby batted for 75 minutes and scored 17 runs in that match. He was fighting against a fast bowler like Shoaib Akhtar. When Shoaib tried in many ways but was not successful, he chose a terrible path. The Rawalpindi Express wanted to end Kirby mentally by bowling at the body.
Harmison played for Durham as Shoaib’s teammate in that match.
“There’s losing it in a controlled way, but there’s also losing it a stupid way like how I witnessed Shoaib Akhtar do it against Steve Kirby who was No.11 for Yorkshire. We couldn’t get Steve Kirby out. Steve Kirby batted and he got stuck in to be fair. And I could see Shoaib losing it and losing it and losing it,”
said Harmison while speaking on the following on Cricket Podcast.
According to Harmison, those moments were one of the worst he’d ever seen on a cricket field, “And all of a sudden Shoaib runs round the wicket and bowls him a beamer. Steve Kirby’s now hit the deck, bounced off the deck, bounced back up. His helmet’s now on sideways, his grille’s going up his face, his gloves have come off, his bat’s been thrown down, and him and Shoaib are coming towards each other in the middle of the crease. And you’ve got this Pakistani and Yorkshireman going head to head and firing off to each other. That’s probably one of the worst I’ve seen anybody lose it.”
Hermione also said that his Durham teammates could not accept Shoaib’s behavior that day. “I was like, ‘Shoaib, what are you doing?’ And he was like ‘Well I couldn’t get him out’. And I looked at him and said ‘Shoaib, you did that on purpose didn’t you?’ And he just grinned, and I thought, ‘Please tell me, as a fast bowler, I could never ever do that,’” he said.
“I couldn’t stop laughing. I was thinking to myself ‘at no point in my career have I ever been in a position where I’m getting to a point where I’ve thought, as a bowler who can bowl a hundred mile an hour by the way, Shoaib Akhtar, I’m coming around the wicket and I’m going to bowl a beamer to No.11’. And I thought ‘If I ever get to that point, I’ve got to retire.’ It was an absolute shocker,” he concluded.