The cricketing world eagerly anticipates clashes between India and Pakistan, as they are among the most intense and passionate encounters in the sport. This fierce rivalry between the two nations has not only produced numerous unforgettable moments over the years but has also seen many legendary players etching their names in the annals of the sport.
Despite the rivalry the two countries share, players from both India and Pakistan often express mutual respect and admiration for each other’s skills. One such recent example is of Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar, who has named an Indian player as his toughest opponent.
Shoaib Akhtar: The express pace machine
Also known as ‘Rawalpindi Express’, Akhtar is a name that has sent shivers down the spine of many batters. The Pakistani speedster was one of the most fearsome fast bowlers cricket has ever seen. Akhtar made his presence felt with his incredible speed and holds the record for bowling the fastest delivery in international cricket, clocking an astonishing 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph). He represented Pakistan in 224 international matches across formats, claiming a staggering 444 wickets.
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Shoaib Akhtar names his toughest opponent
In a recent candid interview on the ‘Wake Up With Sorabh’ YouTube channel, Akhtar opened up about his toughest opponent on the cricketing field. To the surprise of many, he named Lakshmipathy Balaji, an Indian pacer, as his most formidable adversary.
“Lakshmipathy Balaji used to be my biggest opponent. He used to hate me like anything; I was all over the place, man. I could not get him out,” admitted Akhtar.
Shoaib Akhtar highlights why India will be under pressure in the ODI World Cup 2023
Beyond reminiscing about his cricketing days, Akhtar also touched upon the upcoming ODI World Cup in 2023. He remarked that the pressure would be on the Indian side when they host the tournament. He emphasized the high expectations and scrutiny faced by the Indian team, given their home advantage.
“We have to come to India and we want to defeat India. We haven’t spent 600 crores. You want to come to India, the pressure is on you, the media will eat you up right away,” highlighted Akhtar.