Former India opening batter Virender Sehwag has made a claim that Shoaib Akhtar used to chuck while bowling. Sehwag and Akhtar have faced each other on numerous occasions during their playing days. They used to have banters and fierce competition on the field. Off the field, they have been great friends over the years.
Meanwhile, in an interaction on Sports 18’s show, Home Of Heroes, the former India opener said that Akhtar knew he was chucking which is why he was banned by the Cricket Governing Body. The Delhi-born said that facing Brett Lee was easier than the Pakistani speedster.
“Shoaib knows he used to jerk his elbow; he knew he was chucking too. Why would the ICC (International Cricket Council) ban him otherwise?” Sehwag said. “(Australian pace bowler) Brett Lee’s hand came down straight, so it was easy to pick the ball. But with Shoaib (Akhtar), you could never guess where the hand and the ball will come from.”
The right-hander admitted that New Zealand’s Shane Bond’s inswinging deliveries also troubled him. Bond is currently working as the bowling coach of the Mumbai team in the Indian T20 League. “His (Bond’s) deliveries would come swinging into your body, even if he bowled outside off stump,” said Sehwag, adding that Lee and Shoaib were the other two who were quickest he faced.
The 43-year-old further added that he never feared facing Lee but with Akhtar, he never knew what was coming. “I never feared facing Brett Lee, but with Shoaib, I could not trust what he would do if I hit him twice to the fence. Maybe a beamer or a toe-crushing yorker,”
Talking about his time with the legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Sehwag said he used to play aggressive cricket as he wanted to create a name for himself in a team that has such big players. “Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly all would score their centuries playing 150-200 balls. If I scored hundreds at the same rate, no one would remember me. I had to score runs faster than them to create my identity,” said Sehwag.