“His footwork was quick, he would place himself and be ready to play.”
Both Shoaib Akhtar and Inzamam-ul-Haq are renowned and talented players in World cricket history.
Akhtar recently acknowledges his admiration for Pakistani teammate Inzamama aka ‘Inzy’ in an interview, hosted by his former skipper Wasim Akram.
The 41 year-old states: “There were a lot of players in the world [whom I found difficult to get out] but the most difficult, whom I couldn’t even get out in the nets, was Inzamam.”
Inzamam was a truly talented player perhaps most famous for his heroics in the 1992 World Cup.
The current Chief Selector performed exceptionally well at the young age of 22 during the tournament’s most crucial stages.
Inzy hit a mesmerising 60 from 37 balls during a dramatic semi-final against co-hosts in New Zealand, leading Pakistan into the final.
Here he contributed a further 42 runs from 35 balls, helping his country to win the tournament.
As a player, he was always very relaxed and seemed to have all the time in the world to take his shots.
Shoaib comments: “I think there was no other player who played me better than him. His footwork was quick, he would place himself and be ready to play.”
“He could see the ball earlier than many. I always thought he had an extra second. However fast I bowl, he had placed himself where the ball would land.”
The two haven’t always seen eye-to-eye as team-mates however.
During a 2004 Test series against India, Akhtar left the field citing an injury. This lead to Inzamam questioning his commitment to the team.
Over a decade later, it would seem Shoaib has nothing but respect for his former captain’s talent.
Also a legend in his own right, Akhtar was cricket’s first 100mph bowler.
The ‘Don’ himself made history dismissing Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in consecutive deliveries during the first match of the Asian Test Championship in 1999.