Former Pakistan speedster, Shoaib Akhtar, has revealed that he had no idea about the stature of legendary Indian batter, Sachin Tendulkar, when he first broke into the national team.
Akhtar stated that he only got to know about Tendulkar’s status in the game after former off-spinner, Saqlain Mushtaq, told him. Akhtar said that he was only concerned about his own performance and the batter he was bowling to did not matter.
Saqlain told me about Sachin Tendulkar and his stature. I didn’t know about him. I was lost in my own world. I didn’t know. I only knew what I will do and what the batter was thinking.
The fastest bowler in the world had an epic on-field rivalry with Tendulkar. The two players faced each other in 6 Tests and 11 ODIs over the course of their careers. Akhtar dismissed Tendulkar twice in six Tests, conceding 79 runs off 140 balls while he dismissed Tendulkar four times in 11 ODIs, conceding 138 runs off 165 balls.
The Rawalpindi Express also drew comparisons between Pakistani and Indian pacers. He stated that while Indian bowlers would look to defend runs, Pakistani bowlers would look to win their team the match by bowling fast and running through the opposition batting unit. He said that the entire Pakistani bowling unit during his playing days was looking for an excuse to bowl fast.
“I thought, If I get a spell here, I will run through the batters. I will just take the five wickets there and win the match for Pakistan. You can’t be a star without being a match-winner. We used to win games for the country,” Akhtar remarked.