Akhtar lavishes praise on Shami and Rohit

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar praised Mohammed Shami's performance in the first Test, while also suggesting at a long Test career for Rohit Sharma.

Shoaib Akhtar praised Mohammed Shami for getting the most out of a slow pitch at Visakhapatnam.   -  r. senthil kumar

Rohit’s Sharma Test career will only grow while Mohammed Shami can be king of reverse swing, feels former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. Rohit, who scored two hundreds in both innings in his first Test as an opener, while Shami (5-35) ran through the South African batting in the second innings to propel India to a 203-run victory at Visakhapatnam.

Akhtar also lamented that no Pakistani pacer has sought his advice while Indians like Shami have been keeping in touch with him regarding fast bowling.

“Rohit Sharma is hitting hundred after hundred and I have been saying that Rohit should be in the Indian Test team. Form here, he will become a great Test player. Rohit the Test player will grow bigger,” Akhtar said on his youtube channel.

Akhtar said that he once advised Shami to try and become a tearaway pacer while also using reverse swing as a lethal arsenal.

“After India’s (50-over) World Cup disappointment, Shami called me up one day and said he was feeling sad that he could not do well for India. I told him not to lose heart but maintain fitness. The home series is coming and you will do well I said.

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“I told Shami that I want him to become a tearaway pacer, running through batting line-ups. He has seam and swing, besides that he has reverse swing which very few bowlers in the subcontinent have. I told him you can become king of reverse swing,” said Akhtar.

“Now, you see what he has done, he has got wickets from a docile pitch (in Visakhaptnam). I am very happy for him,” said the 44-year-old who took 178 wickets from 46 Tests between 1997 and 2007.

He said he was ready to give advice to the Pakistani pacers but nobody is asking for his help.

“Sadly, our Pakistani fast bowlers don’t ask me how they can improve their bowling but the Indian bowlers like Shami are doing that. It is a sad scenario as far as my country is concern.”

He also said that Virat Kohli is a “bowlers’ captain”.