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Thursday, June 1, 2023
Home Cricket Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan's great pacer, recalls Andrew Flintoff's reaction when he played...

Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan’s great pacer, recalls Andrew Flintoff’s reaction when he played his bouncers.

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When the first Test in a three-match series gets off in Rawalpindi on Thursday, England will play their first Test match in Pakistan in 17 years. England has changed their style of play under Ben Stokes and former New Zealand great McCullum, winning six of their last seven Tests at home while playing what has been dubbed “Bazball” after the coach’s nickname. After a miserable run of just one victory in 17 tests, including a 4-0 humiliation in the Ashes in Australia, head Coach Chris Silverwood was fired and Joe Root was replaced as captain by Ben Stokes.

However, the low and sluggish grounds in Pakistan, where England’s last Test match was in 2005, present a unique challenge for the team. Shoaib Akhtar, a legendary Pakistani pacer, will never forget that series. Back then, he took 17 wickets. Recalling the series, Akhtar said: “I was on the edge of my sofa wondering whether I was going to be selected for the series or not. Once I was, then my main motivation was Freddie Flintoff.”

Flintoff had poked fun at the speedster after facing in the 2005 ICC Super Series. “looked like Tarzan but bowled like Jane,” Flintoff had said then. Shoaib was determined to give a fitting reply to the star allrounder. “I got Freddie on my radar and I just started bowling bouncers. He was uncomfortable, I got him out and said to him: ‘How do I look Mr Flintoff, like Tarzan or Jane?’

“He said: ‘Forgive me Shoaib. You are two different people in a span of three weeks. You were unfit and down in the mouth and now you are totally different. What happened?’ I said: ‘A lot of painkillers and even more heart.'” England will play three Test matches in the current series in Rawalpindi, Multan, and Karachi.

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