‘He requested me not to kill him’ – Shoaib Akhtar picks the toughest batsman he bowled to
Akhtar had instilled fears in minds of many batters.
Updated - Jul 13, 2021 12:03 pm
Shoaib Akhtar is one name that pops up in minds when thinking about a tearaway fast bowler. The former Pakistan speedster is one of the finest pacers to have ever graced the game and his record speaks volumes of his prowess. Seeing Akhtar steaming in to bowl wasn’t a pleasant sight for any batter as his thunderbolts couldn’t just dismiss but also injure players.
The talismanic pacer even holds the record of bowling the fastest delivery in international cricket, 161.3 kmph against England in 2003. Needless to say, Akhtar had instilled fears in minds of many players. Recently, however, the fast bowler revealed that player whom he struggled against the most. That batter wasn’t Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, or Brian Lara but legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Akhtar’s statement was nothing but a shocker as Muralitharan hasn’t done much with the bat in his career. However, the former Pakistan pacer found him hard to tackle and he explained the reason by recalling an interesting anecdote.
Muralitharan requested me not to kill him: Shoaib Akhtar
“Muttiah Muralitharan is the toughest batsman I have bowled to. I am not even kidding. He requested me not to kill him and told me that he will die if I hit him with a bouncer. He said, ‘Please pitch the ball up and I will give you the wicket away. Whenever I pitched the ball up he just used to slash hard and used to tell me that he hit it by mistake,” Akhtar told Sportskeeda.
Notably, Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in international cricket, had scored 1261 runs and 674 runs in 133 Tests and 350 ODI matches respectively. These numbers aren’t great by any standards but he had a strike rate of over 70 in both formats. This shows the former spinner followed the do-or-die policy and the same gave Akhtar a tough time.
Speaking of the former Pakistan pacer, he picked 444 wickets in his illustrious international career and took Pakistan to numerous victories. He bid farewell to international cricket after the 2011 World Cup but it didn’t restrict him from hogging the headlines. The 45-year-old is often in news due to his bold and controversial statements.