Shoaib Akhtar is one of the fastest bowlers to ever play the game of cricket. During his prime, some of the greatest cricketers of the time feared his deadly bouncers and toe-crushing yorkers.
England fast bowler, Liam Plunkett, who made his debut against Pakistan in 2005, has recalled his memories of the first tour. Talking about facing the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, he said it was frightening stuff.
Speaking on The Broken Podcast, the 35-year-old remembered his encounter with Shoaib Akhtar, saying:
I faced Shoaib Akhtar in my first ever Test match. Because I played with Durham before that, I was marking my run up before the Test and he just smiled and said ‘I’m gonna kill you’ and laughed.
The two played for Durham County Cricket Club in the previous season and Plunkett knew what it was like to face Akhtar when he came steaming in. Talking about the nervous batting before he went out to bat, Plunkett said that Akhtar was bowling in the high 90s.
I was sat ready to bat, I was next in, and the TV screen’s right there, so you can see it’s like 96, 97, 96 [miles per hour]. Ashley Giles’ stumps get taken out, and I walk out to a guy who’s bowling 90 mile an hour.
Paul Collingwood, who got out in his 90s, called Akhtar’s bowling ‘rapid’.
I don’t know how much Colly was on, but he was batting nicely, and often in county cricket when you go out there, ‘Is he bowling quick?’ and generally it’s ‘Oh yeah but it’s skiddy and that but you’re alright’, and Colly was like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s ******* rapid mate’.
Plunkett ended up being dismissed by Mohammad Sami after scoring 9 from 51 balls.
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