India and Pakistan are two giants of world cricket who have produced world-class cricketers over the years and are still producing some of the best cricketers in the world. Known for their batting prowess, India delivered the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and a few stalwart batsmen to the world cricket. On the other hand, Pakistan produced world-class bowlers in the form of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and a few others.
Over the years, it is dubbed that Virender Sehwag is the man, who changed the mindset of a batsman in the Test format of the game. He used to thrash the bowlers with an utter disdain right from the start of his innings in Test cricket. However, Wasim Akram isn’t convinced with it, as he feels Virender Sehwag made his way into the Test Cricket a bit later.
Shahid Afridi changed the mindset of opening – Wasim Akram
Lauding former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi for his attacking batting at the start of his career, Akram said it was Afridi who changed the ‘mindset of opening’ in Test cricket. He explained bowler’s mindset while bowling to Shahid Afridi, as it can go either way.
“In Test cricket, Sehwag came later but in 1999-2000 Shahid Afridi changed the mindset of opening in Test cricket. Even if I was the bowler I would know that I can get him out but also know that he can hit me for boundaries. He used to hit lose deliveries for sixes at will,” said Akram while chatting with Afridi on a Youtube chat show.
Imran Khan suggestions came handy – Wasim Akram
Further, Wasim Akram revealed his conversation with the great Imran Khan regarding Shahid Afridi ahead of the tour to India. Though selection panel was against Afridi, Wasim Akram expressed his strong belief in the swashbuckling batsman, which turned out to be a massive move for Pakistan, as they won the series in India comfortably and Afridi smashed a stunning century.
“I called Imran Khan before the tour selection. I told him ‘skipper I want to take Shahid Afridi on tour but a few selectors were against it. He told me ‘You should definitely take him, he will win a 1-2 Test matches and make him open the batting,” he added.
“I generally discussed a lot with Imran, sometimes before the tour, sometimes during the tour and his suggestions always came in handy. What a knock it was on that Chennai track. Afridi used to dance down the track and hit Kumble and Joshi for sixes,” Akram said recalling that Test match.
Afridi’s Test career, however, did not take flight as he only managed to play 27 Test matches for Pakistan. But he was a stalwart in limited-overs cricket, representing Pakistan in 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is respectively.