Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary Pakistan left-arm seamer Wasim Akram has boldly claimed that it was all-rounder Shahid Afridi rather than iconic India opener Virender Sehwag who “changed the mindset of opening in Test cricket”.
Many people credit Sehwag for bringing an attacking mentality and approach to the longest format, but Akram feels that Afridi deserves the credit.
“In Test cricket, Sehwag came later but in 1999-2000 Shahid Afridi changed the mindset of opening in Test cricket. Even if I was the bowler, I would know that I can get him out but also know that he can hit me for boundaries. He used to hit lose deliveries for sixes at will,” Akram said in a YouTube video as quoted by PakPassion.
Meanwhile, Akram also revealed that Afridi was not supposed to be picked for Pakistan’s tour of India in 1999.
However, Akram urged then-captain Imran Khan to consider picking Afridi, who smashed his maiden Test century against India in Chennai.
Afridi came in as an opener and scored 141, which came off 191 balls and included 21 boundaries and three sixes.
Thanks to Afridi’s superb innings in just his second Test, Pakistan won the match by 12 runs.
“I called Imran Khan before the tour selection. I told him ‘skipper I want to take Shahid Afridi on tour but a few selectors were against it’. He told me ‘you should definitely take him, he will win one-two Test matches and make him open the batting’.
“I generally discussed a lot with Imran, sometimes before the tour, sometimes during the tour and his suggestions always came in handy.
“What a knock it was on that Chennai track. Afridi used to dance down the track and hit (Anil) Kumble and (Sunil) Joshi for sixes.”