Admitting that he was fortunate to not face the Pakistani speedster at his peak, Indian captain Virat Kohli has hailed Shoaib Akhtar’s propensity to intimidate opposition batsmen with unbridled pace. In his official Twitter account, the former fast bowler responded to the star batsman’s lavish praise by declaring that he was the one who was fortunate to not square off against the dynamic 29-year old.
“I’ve never faced Shoaib Akhtar but I’ve seen him in a game in Dambulla against Pakistan. I got out, (so) I couldn’t face him. But I saw him bowl and he looked very lethal even at the later stages of his career. At that time, I felt (that) batsmen would not have wanted to face him when he was at his peak”, Kohli revealed in a chat show titled Breakfast with Champion.
In response, Akhtar tweeted, “I was better off not bowling at all when
#Kohli was batting.Jokes apart,he’s a gr8 batsman & bowling agnst him wud have been a gr8 contest.”
Later during a television show, the pacer enthused, “Virat Kohli is a great batsman and is a brilliant achiever. I have come across a number of Indian players and had a very friendly relationship with Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag. So it’s mutual admiration.”
Both Akhtar and Kohli played in the same match on only one occasion. During the fourth match of the 2010 Asia Cup at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium. India successfully chased down Pakistan’s target in a thrilling encounter.
Coming into the crease after Akhtar had completed his first spell, Kohli was dismissed by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for a 27-ball 18 and hence did not face the Pakistani pacer.
“Virat Kohli is a great batsman and is a brilliant achiever,” said Akhtar. “I have come across a number of Indian players and had a very friendly relationship with Sourav (Ganguly) and Virender Sehwag so it’s a mutual admiration.”