“I have the energy of an atom bomb that needs to explode somewhere” – Shoaib Akhtar opens up on his pace secrets

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has credited his atom bomb-like energy for being able to bowl at a fiery pace during his cricketing career. The “Rawalpindi Express” revealed that he never wanted to be a fast bowler but the adrenaline in his body pushed him towards becoming one.

The 46-year-old recently turned out for the Asia Lions in the Legends League Cricket 2022. He was part of the playing XI that went down to the World Giants in the final in Al Amarat on Saturday (29 January).

During the tournament, Akhtar caught up with his old rival, Australia’s Brett Lee, who was representing the World Giants. In an interaction on The Brett Lee podcast, the former Pakistan pacer went down memory lane and shared details of his journey to becoming one of the world’s most feared fast bowlers.

Shoaib Akhtar revealed:

“(I) Never wanted to be a fast bowler. But I always believed that I am able to do something because I have energy like nobody. I have the energy of an atom bomb that needs to explode somewhere.”

The eccentric former cricketer added that being told he “can’t do it” during his childhood days only fired him up and made him more determined. Akhtar recalled:

“I always used to tell my childhood friends that I am something. But the word from my childhood started from – ‘you can’t do it’. [sic]. The minute I started listening to that, I started getting that kick. That was the kind of environment that I was living in. But I said I will go through the walls.”

Akhtar made his international debut in 1997 and rose to become one of Pakistan’s most destructive pacers. Frequent injuries, though, reduced his career to 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is.

“The only year I was pain free” – Shoaib Akhtar on his exploits in 1999

Shoaib Akhtar enjoyed one of his most fruitful years in international cricket in 1999. That year, he claimed 38 wickets in 21 ODIs, with 16 of those scalps coming in the World Cup in England.

Reflecting on his memorable performances that season, Akhtar stated, with a tinge of regret, that it was the only year he was “pain free”. The “Rawalpindi Express” elaborated:

“During the 1999 World Cup, I felt it was the right stage for me to go at 100 miles (per hour). I did that but not for people but for because I was just loving it. I was flying and that was the only year I was pain free.”

Revealing details from his childhood days, Akhtar added that while he became a fast bowler after growing up, he could not walk till he was six years old. The 46-year-old explained:

“I could not walk till the age of 6 because of my flat feet. My knee rotates backwards and comes back in there. It hyper-extends backwards. People said (to my mother) your son can’t walk. Before that my brother, his name was Shoaib, he passed away.”

Akhtar went on to add:

“People said don’t keep that’s name, he might not survive. It’s a bad omen. But my mother said it’s a prophet’s name. So they kept my name and when I was born, I could not walk. I crawled. Till 10 I used to crumble, was sloppy and clumsy.”

Shoaib Akhtar claimed two wickets in three matches in the Legends League Cricket 2022 at an economy rate of 7.95. He went wicketless in the final, conceding 33 runs in 2.1 overs before picking up an injury.

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