‘Oh my Lord, you should’ve been in the team’ – Shoaib Akhtar recalls Gary Kirsten’s reaction after facing him in the nets
Akhtar bowled at the touring South Africa in the nets in 1994.
Updated - Aug 11, 2020 12:43 pm
Former Pakistan speedster, Shoaib Akhtar has recalled the time when he left an everlasting impression on Gary Kirsten in 1994. During a net session on South Africa’s tour of Pakistan for an ODI tri-series, Akhtar was invited to bowl in the nets, and he stunned everyone with his class bowling.
As Rawanpindi Express recalls, Kirsten was ready to vouch for young Akhtar to be placed in national side of Pakistan post this net session. It went the same way, and the pacer set his foot forward in the international career three years after that incident in a Test match in 1997.
Shoaib Akhtar recalls his first conversation with Gary Kirsten
Shoaib Akhtar claims that he was at his best at that time and not debuting for Pakistan soon led to him losing his peak. However, once he made it to the highest level the pace bowler troubled some of the best batsmen in the international arena.
“I became a net bowler for the South Africans. So the South Africans came up to me, I remember very clearly, there is one gentleman called Gary Kirsten, and Jonty Rhodes. They said, ‘Would you like to be a good net fast bowler against us?’ I said, ‘Yes sir, I can do that for you [and] very soon, you’ll remember me,that I’ll be playing against you guys.’ They said, ‘So, how’s that?’ And I just asked them to face me.
“I then bowled a couple of balls at Gary Kirsten and he said, ‘Oh my Lord, you should have been in the team rather than in the nets.’ I asked if I’m capable enough to be a great fast bowler. He said, ‘You must be kidding me. I am going to vouch for you in the Pakistan dressing room that you should play.’ And Pakistan, what they did is play me four years later. So, I lost my peak there,” Akhtar said on Test Match Special Podcast.
Shoaib Akhtar remains one of the fastest bowler to have played international cricket ever. He made his Test debut against West Indies in 1997 and ODI debut in 1998 against Zimbabwe. During his sparkling career, he remained a nightmare for batsmen, and picked 247 ODI along with 178 Test, and 19 T20I wickets. He was last seen in action against New Zealand in March 2011.