Shoaib Akhtar names the toughest Indian batsman he bowled to
Former Pakistani paceman Shoaib Akhtar is regarded one of the deadly pacers on the history of cricket. Over the years, Many Indian batsmen have been at the receiving end of Shoaib Akhtar’s lethal pace. Interestingly, there’s always been this one batsman, whom the former Pakistan quick feels did not have much trouble batting against him.
While Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly aren’t the Shoaib’s pick therefore, Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman, wouldn’t be Akhtar’s pick either. Though Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni never had much trouble against Akhtar’s pace, the Rawalpindi Express took a completely different one as his pick.Rahul Dravid was Shoaib’s pick as the toughest Indian Batsman.
“If a batsman used to play, like Rahul Dravid, we would bowl him length balls. From close to the stump we would aim at the gap between bat and pad, try to hit the ball on the pad,” Akhtar said in a chat with Aakash Chopra on his YouTube channel.
Akhtar revealed how he and former teammate Shahid Afridi thought of a plan to get him out. The former pacer seems to be pointing towards the final of the Pepsi Cup in the year 1999 that involved Sri Lanka as the third team.
“There was a final match in Bangalore, I had dismissed Sadagoppan Ramesh early, we took 3-4 wickets early. Sachin Tendulkar was not playing. Shahid Afridi and I said Rahul Dravid will take a lot of time and it’s Friday night today. Afridi said bowl something and take his wicket else he will play for long,” Akhtar recalled.
“I hit him directly on the pad and urged the umpire to raise his fingers. I even said it’s our Friday night. He did not give the decision in our favour but we had won in the end. Dravid was a difficult and determined batsman. It was difficult for me as well as him. He would play against me easily.”