Shoaib Akhtar was synonymous with ferocious pace, bounce and ability to rattle the greatest of the batters with toe wreaking yorkers. In his illustrious career, Akhtar picked 444 international wickets and used to be a walking nightmare during his prime time.
Popularly known as Rawalpindi Express, Akhtar still holds the record for bowling the fastest delivery (161.3 kph) in the history of the game. During the league stage game against England in the 2003 edition of the ICC World Cup, Akhtar bowled the record-shattering fastest delivery to the opener, Nick Knight, at Cape Town. In his recent interaction with Sportskeeda, Pakistan’s former pace sensation revealed the hard work he put in to achieve that milestone.
“When a bowler touches 155 kph as a bowler, he should know that he has another five kph inside him,” he said.
Akhtar further stated that adding another extra pace to bowling required specific training. “Before I broke the 100 miles record, I was bowling at speeds of 157-158 kph, but I was not able to reach 160. I was a bit baffled over the same, wondering why it was not happening,” Akhtar said.
According to Akhtar, he began running with tires but soon realised that they were light, and started pulling small vehicles with his shoulder.” Islamabad used to be a less populated city, so I used to pull cars and match them with my run-ups. Later, I realised vehicles were too easy for me to pull, so I moved to pull trucks around 8 km,” Akhtar added.
While making his debut when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were ruling the roost, Akhtar soon grabbed the limelight due to his sheer pace and ability to take wickets. Akhtar made his international debut against West Indies at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in 1997. The Pakistani speedster played 46 Tests and 163 ODIs for the Men in Green.