“Would have instigated him to pull me or play a cut” – Akhtar reveals plan to dismiss Kohli

Shoaib Akhtar believes Virat Kohli doesn't look comfortable while playing pull and cut.

Virat Kohli | GettyFormer Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes if he was still around and playing cricket today, he would have shared a fascinating bond with Virat Kohli, being both friends and nemesis with the Indian captain.

See Also: "Sachin would've scored 1.30 lakh runs in current era," says Shoaib Akhtar comparing Sachin and Kohli

Speaking in the latest episode of ESPNcricinfo Videocast, Akhtar also pointed out his and Kohli's common ethnicity stating that both he and Virat were Punjabis with a big heart.

"We are both Punjabis with a big heart. We would have been best of friends off-field and fierce enemies on-field," Shoaib said.

"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," he added.

Commenting on the batsmen he would find difficult to bowl out, the Rawalpindi Express said: "To be honest, it's Inzamam-ul-Haq. See my action is very complicated unlike Bret Lee's but I could not bowl him out even once in the nets in 10 years. I think he could read the ball a second faster than others."

He also expressed his admiration for a few other legendary batters such as Martin Crowe and Rahul Dravid.

"I think Martin Crowe would have played me well too. He was a magician and very elegant. Among Indian players, Rahul Dravid is the most decorated batsman. If he won't offer me a shot, I would not be able to penetrate his defense. I also think Jacques Kallis is one of the best all-rounders, and slip fielders cricket has ever produced."

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag was one of the few batsmen who used to play Shoaib Akhtar at ease.

Talking about Sehwag, Akhtar said: "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."

In the end, the ex-pacer expressed his displeasure over the quality of fast bowling in contemporary cricket.  

"There has been a fall in the popularity of the game and ICC is to be blamed for it," said Akhtar. "I have been voicing for last 10 years to open the bouncers for fast bowlers. Till there is no rivalry like Sachin (Tendulkar) vs Shoaib, you won't get following."

He is also disappointed with the current state of fast bowling in Pakistan.  

"What you need in team today are characters, players who can hunt you down, who can run like a lion and think like a Leopard. You have to bring people like me in Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)."

“I will find such people, train them in all aspects like how to eat, how to talk, how to bowl, mannerisms and build them up as a brand. But average management will bring average people into the system and sadly that's what is happening in Pakistan today.”

(With IANS inputs)



By Salman Anjum - 26 May, 2020

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