Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has frequently praised the Indian cricketers, including the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah. The three players, as mentioned earlier, are one of the best in their respective departments currently and have set the benchmark for their compatriots. Shoaib Akhtar’s words of admiration for Indian players have not gone well in Pakistan for which the paceman has hit back.
While staying active on social media, Shoaib Akhtar has raised his voices against Pakistan’s underwhelming performances too. The 44-year old recently slammed his countrymen for their poor display in the Test series in England as they lost it by 0-1. Akhtar was critical of Pakistan failing to take advantage of a 107-run lead they secured in the first Test in Manchester. He also described Babar Azam as a clueless T20 captain.
Shoaib Akhtar slammed the critics and questioned them the reason for not appreciating Virat Kohli and Indian players. He also queried whether there is any player in Pakistan, whose abilities match to that of Kohli and that one should look at statistics before condemning him. The Rawalpindi Express admitted now is the time when Pakistan cricketers look up to their arch-rivals in terms of developing skills.
“Why should I not praise Indian players and Virat Kohli? Is there any player in Pakistan, or all over the world, which comes close to Kohli? I don’t know why people are angry, they should go look at the stats first before criticising me,” he said.
“There was a time when Indians wanted to be like Pakistan players but now it’s the other way around,” Akhtar stated as quoted by Times Now.
Even after playing so many Tests, we have failed to make him a star: Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar went on to slam Asad Shafiq, who averaged only 13 in three Tests in England, being a veteran of more than 70 games. The 44-year old highlighted Shafiq’s cluelessness on the field, looking like playing his first Test, and could not be impactful despite experience.
He also expects Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to deliver match-winning performances in the next year’s T20 World Cup and put pressure on them to perform.
“Asad Shafiq looks lost on the field and does not know what to do. Whenever he is out there, it looks like he is playing his first Test. Even after playing so many Tests, we have failed to make him a star.
“We have invested 18 years on the likes of Hafeez and Malik and utmost pressure should be put on them, ahead of the T20 World Cup. We should tell these guys that if you don’t perform, we will hold you responsible for last 18 years,” he added.