Despite being attacked by Shoaib Akhtar in his book and interviews, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has supported the fast-bowler’s claims that Sachin Tendulkar was scared of his pace, saying he was a witness of the shivering in front of the maverick pacer.
In his book, ‘Controversially Yours’, Akhtar wrote that the batsman was scared of his bowling, a comment that has caused furore across the border, forcing publishers to cancel all launch-related and publicity events.
However, when asked about Akhtar’s claims, Afridi showed no hesitation in backing the bowler.
“Shoaib is telling the truth,” said Afridi. “Tendulkar was afraid of him and while fielding, I saw Tendulkar’s legs shivering while facing his bowling.”
However, the all-rounder added that it was not an unusual feature of a batsman.
“There are times when every batsman feels the pressure, it happens against Saeed Ajmal even.”
The former captain, however, was critical of Akhtar’s comments against him, blaming Afridi for his omission from the World Cup semi-final line-up against India.
“Shoaib should remember that I apologised to the chairman and manager on his behalf and got him back into the national squad. While he hasn’t lied about other things, he won’t be able to look at me in the eyes after he’s said all that.”
Return unlikely before Sri Lanka series
Meanwhile, Afridi, who retired from international cricket in a protest against the Pakistan Cricket Board’s set-up, showed reluctance to make a quick return.
“There is a lot of pressure on me from fans and friend to make a comeback but I will wait for things to improve further. I will take at least a month to reconsider my decision.” Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in a full series in the UAE that starts from October 18. However, the experienced cricketer, leading Karachi Dolphins in the ongoing National Twenty20 Cup, said he was not compromising on his form and fitness.
“I am training hard and focusing on improvement with both with the bat and ball.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2011.