There no better cricket site that watching a brutal fast bowler steaming in against a aggressive batsman who can go on from ball one. Such was the contest each time, when Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar and Virender Sehwag went up against each other. In one of his recent interview Akhtar claimed that former Indian opener Virender Sehwag was someone who could not not score freely while playing against him.
In recent times, Akhtar has been very vocal on social media talking about various issues concerning the game of cricket. The ex-fast bowler, who has more than 400 wickets across all formats, was one of the most feared pacers in the world when he was at his peak. His on-field rivalries against Indian players was a treat to watch, especially with players such as Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and especially Sachin Tendulkar.
In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, he claimed that former Indian opener Virender Sehwag was someone who could not not score freely while playing against him.
“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.” he said.
Akhtar and Sehwag had a fierce rivalry. But contrary to his opinion Sehwag averages a whopping 70 against him in Tests alone.
Dravid the toughest
However, Akhtar was more respectful towards Rahul Dravid. On many occasions he has called Dravid as the toughest Indian batsman he has ever bowled to. The pacer claimed that it was demoralising to see a batsman played with a dead straight bat to a delivery which was extremely fast.
Dravid was someone who never seemed to give away his wicket easily, Akhtar claimed that he found it harder to bowl at him more than Sehwag and Tendulkar.
Would have loved to bowl to Virat
Talking about the Indian skipper Virat Kohli on his conversation with Sanjay Manjrekar he said that both of them were ‘Punjabis with a big heart’ and he would have relished an on-field rivalry against the best batsman in the world right now.
Akhtar added “We are both Punjabis with a big heart. We would have been best of friends off-field and fierce enemies on-field. With Virat if you fight, he gets more focused. So to bowl him out, I would try to get him to lose focus. I would try to get into his head. At my extreme pace, I would have instigated him to pull me or play a cut because he doesn’t have these two shots. I know he loves to drive, so again at my extreme pace, I would get him to drive and would have kept talking to him in between. Something like what (James) Anderson did to him in England.”
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