Karachi: Former Pakistani cricket sensation Shoaib Akhtar, renowned for his incredible speed, has revealed that when fast bowler Mohammad Amir burst onto the cricket scene, he contemplated retirement.
In a conversation shared on a TV show with actor Faisal Qureshi and actor Ijaz Aslam, Shoaib Akhtar reminisced about his career, saying, "When Mohammad Asif entered cricket, I was elated. I used to think that we had achieved something extraordinary, but Asif made it look effortless. Later, when fast bowler Mohammad Amir emerged, I felt it was time to retire, and I did so in 2007."
Akhtar went on to recount a significant moment in his career when, at the end of 2009, news broke that some Pakistani team members were embroiled in a match-fixing scandal.
He revealed that family members and friends advised him to return to the field for Pakistan for at least a year, even if he had to take daily injections.
However, he chose not to succumb to insecurity, motivated by the belief that his predecessors had never displayed such apprehension.
He expressed a commitment to supporting and encouraging younger players.
Discussing the development of cricketers in Pakistan, Akhtar emphasized that not enough focus has been placed on their growth and brand building.
He shared an anecdote without naming individuals, mentioning how he asked a prominent batsman about his annual earnings expectations.
The batsman responded with a figure of Rs5 crore per year, prompting a friend to jest, "Shoaib is thinking about 100 crores per year for you." The batsman was astonished at the suggestion.
Shoaib Akhtar also criticized the Pakistan Cricket Board's spending priorities, asserting that the board's improvement would be hindered as long as it continues to allocate resources to less essential matters.
Nevertheless, he expressed contentment with his current position and revealed that his only lingering frustration is from the 2011 Mohali incident, which he hopes will find an outlet during the upcoming World Cup in India.
Closing on an optimistic note, Shoaib Akhtar expressed his heartfelt desire, saying, "I wish to see Pakistan win while our national anthem plays, with us lifting the World Cup in India and thanking India for hosting the tournament. This is my dream, and I hope it comes true."
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