Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistan speedster, shared a tale from the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) debut season in 2008. IPL 2008 was the only season in which Pakistani players were permitted to compete in the lucrative competition.
In 2008, eight IPL franchise clubs recruited a total of 11 Pakistani players. In the first season, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) purchased Akhtar for INR 1.7 crore. Because he was serving a suspension issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Akhtar only played three games for the franchise.
In the 2008 Indian Premier League, Shoaib Akhtar shook up the Delhi Daredevils.
Akhtar’s best IPL figure is 4/11, which he achieved against the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals), when he went through their top-order and helped KKR win by 23 runs. KKR were bowled out for 110 in the first innings after Akhtar delivered a brilliant spell that included the wickets of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, and Manoj Tiwary.
KKR captain Sourav Ganguly had supported him to play despite head coach John Buchanan’s concerns about the Pakistan pacer’s condition at the time, Akhtar remembered. Ganguly managed to persuade Australia’s head coach to start Akhtar.
When I entered the KKR camp, I was serving a suspension and had not yet played a match. Sourav Ganguly was informed by John Buchanan that he does not believe I am physically well enough. Ganguly responded by saying that he has always been unfit. Don’t be concerned about him. Even if he’s half-fit, it’ll be OK,” Akhtar told Sportskeeda.
During his 14-year international career, Akhtar took 444 wickets in 224 matches across all formats. When he was matched against the best batsmen of his day, the fascinating bouts would leave everyone in awe of his bowling.
For his exploratory pace, Akhtar is known as the ‘Rawalpindi Express,’ having reached 161.3 kph against England during a 2003 World Cup match. The Rawalpindi-born bowler has been retired from international cricket for a decade, but his illustrious record has remained unblemished.