Shoaib Akhtar was beastly yet beautiful to watch in his prime. The muscular frame who sped up to the wicket, with the hair flying backwards, to release those thunderbolts often ran shivers down the spine of seasoned batters.
The cricketing world remembers the successive swinging yorkers that cleaned up Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in the Kolkata Test match in 1999.
At 46, he is, of course, no longer the express bowler that he used to be, but the skills and attitude are still there. They were on display in the opening match of the Legends League Cricket. “I was born to be a star,” Shoaib tells Sportstar while talking about the popularity of his YouTube channel that has attracted 31 lakh subscribers within two years of its launch. “I do it for my pleasure (and those videos) become hits. I know I have lots of followers in India and Pakistan. And I am the most loved guy in the sub-continent.”
He says he is delighted that the sub-continent still produces quality pace bowlers. And he is mighty impressed with the current crop of Indian quicks. “All the Indian pacers are good; I love Umesh Yadav, I love Jasprit Bumrah,” says Shoaib. “I think Mohammed Shami is great. I feel it would be great if they could develop an attitude too, like that of their Pakistani counterparts.”
Talking of Virat Kohli’s decision to quit as India’s Test captain, he says he wasn’t surprised. “I was in Dubai at that time, and my Indian friends were telling me about what was happening,” he says.
As for his own experience of bowling for Asia Lions against India Maharajas in the opening match of the Legends League Cricket, he says he enjoyed it, though it was painful. He took one for 21 from four overs. “I hurt myself,” he says. “But I loved it.”
The spectators loved it too.
The writer is in Muscat by the invitation of Legends League Cricket
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