Shoaib Akhtar Glad To Be Proved Wrong As He Thought Virat Kohli Was Making A Mistake By Being Team India Skipper

Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistan pacer was rich in his praise for India skipper Virat Kohli for instilling aggression in his fast bowlers and for changing the mentality of Indian cricket. In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Shoaib Akhtar shared his thoughts on India’s evolved pace attack over the last few years. Shoaib Akhtar Thinks Virat Kohli Has Done A Wonderful Job As A Captain So far, Virat Kohli has represented his side in 92 Tests, 254 ODIs, and 90 T20Is, scoring 7547, 12169, and 3159 runs respectively. He is the only player to average above 50 across all the

Shoaib Akhtar Glad To Be Proved Wrong As He Thought Virat Kohli Was Making A Mistake By Being Team India Skipper

Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistan pacer was rich in his praise for India skipper Virat Kohli for instilling aggression in his fast bowlers and for changing the mentality of Indian cricket.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Shoaib Akhtar shared his thoughts on India’s evolved pace attack over the last few years.

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

Shoaib Akhtar Thinks Virat Kohli Has Done A Wonderful Job As A Captain

So far, Virat Kohli has represented his side in 92 Tests, 254 ODIs, and 90 T20Is, scoring 7547, 12169, and 3159 runs respectively. He is the only player to average above 50 across all the formats. But the batsman is yet to score a ton in any format since his 136 against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in November 2019. His century drought continued but he will look to make amends in the upcoming 5 Tests against hosts England.

“I think Virat (Kohli) has done a wonderful job as a captain. I said it to Anushka Sharma in a Sony show-‘I think Virat is making a mistake by being a captain. I knew there was a tremendous amount of pressure on him and it would bog him down.”

“In a country like India with a population of a billion, there are around 20,000 TV sets and channels, enough to slam him. In my mind, I was thinking, “he’s a young kid, let him score runs and play his game.”

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

In a way, the 45-year-old was glad to be proved wrong. In the interview, he credited Virat Kohli for instilling the aggression a tearaway pacer needed.

“He [Kohli] took up that challenge of being a skipper. He took it on and made sure that his replica was instilled within the fast bowlers. He wants to see his aggression in his fast bowlers. He’s not actually a Virat Kohli on the field, he is a fast bowler running in the form of an Ishant Sharma or a Bhuvneshwar Kumar or [Mohammed] Shami.”- Shoaib Akhtar

As a bowling unit, Virat Kohli wants his bowlers in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin to take twenty wickets and has changed the mentality of Indian cricket.

Shoaib Akhtar Was Feared By Batsmen Across The World For Generating Express Pace While Virat Kohli Is Yet To Win An ICC Trophy As Skipper

Shoaib Akhtar was undoubtedly one of the fastest bowlers in international cricket and his 178 Test wickets and 247 ODI scalps bear proof of his calibre. Known for his ferocious pace, intense aggression, and his ability to provide regular breakthroughs at important critical junctures in the game, he was often seen as the main threat by the opposition batsmen.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

He headlined news across the world for bowling a delivery at 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph), in an ODI against England during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Shoaib Akhtar was nicknamed the “Rawalpindi Express” for his breakneck speed. He was also the first bowler to be recorded bowling at 100 miles per hour and did so twice during his career.

Virar Kohli, who was handed the reins for the final Test match against Australia on the 2014-15 tour, has led India in 61 Tests which is the most by an Indian skipper so far. Under Virat Kohli, India has won 36 Test matches.

In the One Day Internationals, Team India has registered 65 victories from the 95 matches. Virat Kohli has captained the T20I side 45 times, and India has won 27 matches. Under Virat Kohli, India has been the most consistent Test side over the past five years.

Under Virat Kohli, India has come close thrice to lift an ICC Trophy – the in 2017, the 2019 World Cup, and most recently, the WTC final – but have stumbled at the final hurdle. Royal Challengers Bangalore, Virat Kohli’s franchise is also yet to win IPL but finished as runners up on three occasions between 2009 and 2016. They were runners up in 2009,2011 and 2016-the last of which came under Virat Kohli.

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Shoaib Akhtar Feels Pakistan Will Win Against India In The 2021 T20I World Cup Final

Shoaib Akhtar made a bold claim regarding the finalists for the upcoming T20 World Cup in UAE. The Rawalpindi Express feels it will be a repeat of the inaugural edition’s final in 2007 where India will lose to Pakistan. The T20 World Cup remains the biggest and most-awaited cricketing event this year after it was postponed from Australia, 2020 to India, 2021 and was shifted from India to UAE all due to Covid-19. Set to be held soon after IPL 14’s conclusion in the UAE, the tournament will see 12 teams divided into groups of two in the main draw,

Shoaib Akhtar Feels Pakistan Will Win Against India In The 2021 T20I World Cup Final

Shoaib Akhtar made a bold claim regarding the finalists for the upcoming T20 World Cup in UAE. The Rawalpindi Express feels it will be a repeat of the inaugural edition’s final in 2007 where India will lose to Pakistan.

The T20 World Cup remains the biggest and most-awaited cricketing event this year after it was postponed from Australia, 2020 to India, 2021 and was shifted from India to UAE all due to Covid-19. Set to be held soon after IPL 14’s conclusion in the UAE, the tournament will see 12 teams divided into groups of two in the main draw, after the qualifiers, which will be followed by the semi-finals and the marquee final.

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

Shoaib Akhtar Feels Pakistan Will Win Against India In The 2021 T20I World Cup Final Which Will Be A Repeat Of The Inaugural Edition(2007) Won By India

Ahead of the showpiece event in the UAE, many experts and former cricketers have already started sharing their predictions as to who will walk away with the title in the seventh edition of the T20 WC.

Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar, who doesn’t mince his words and remains a vocal critic of Pakistan cricket, feels the final will be a repeat of the inaugural edition, where Virat Kohli-led India will face-off Babar Azam’s Pakistan.  However, Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar made heads turn by claiming that the Men in Green will storm past India in the summit clash.

“I have a feeling Pakistan and India will play in the T20 World Cup final and India will lose to Pakistan. Conditions in UAE will favour both India and Pakistan,” Shoaib Akhtar told Sports Tak on YouTube.

India lift the ICC World Twenty20 trophy at the end of a thrilling final against Pakistan • Sep 24, 2007 © AFP/Getty Images
India lift the ICC World Twenty20 trophy at the end of a thrilling final against Pakistan • Sep 24, 2007, © AFP/Getty Images

India has not lost to Pakistan in any World Cup, be it in the ODI or T20I format. Thus, Virat Kohli-led India has an 11-0 record versus their arch-rivals in limited-overs ICC tournaments. On the other hand, they didn’t play against each other in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) and aren’t going to square off with each other even in the second cycle’s league stage.

India And Pakistan Last Faced Each Other In 2019 World Cup

The last time India and Pakistan faced each other was in the round-robin stage of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where the former won by 89 runs (DLS method). Their last T20 World Cup face-off resulted in India’s 6-wicket win over Men in Green in Kolkata in the 2016 edition.

Nonetheless, Shoaib Akhtar’s claim can come true as India tasted the last defeat versus Pakistan in an ICC tournament final, during the 2017 Champions Trophy summit clash defeat by 180 runs.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Talking about both sides, they are placed in Group B along with , New Zealand, and two other teams set to join from the qualifying round. Group A, so far, has England, West Indies, Australia, and South Africa, while two more teams will join them from the qualifying round.

The India-Pakistan rivalry is an age-old rivalry and games between the two sides are always highly anticipated by fans from both countries. However, due to the unfortunate political situation, the two teams haven’t played a bilateral series since 2012-13. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

The two Asian rivals now only play matches during the ICC events like World Cups and Champions Trophy and Asia Cup which relatively has become one-sided affairs with the Men in Blue edging the Men in Green.

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