Shoaib Akhtar became the world's fastest bowler but the road to getting there wasn't easy. The former Pakistan quick, nicknamed 'The Rawalpindi Express,' revealed that he was able to generate reverse-swing at the age of 16 and it was mostly due to the learning he acquired from some of the bowlers he worked with early on in his career. "A lot of people used to tell me 'How can you replace Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, are you mad?' There are thousands of bowlers who have come and left. I said, 'No you don't understand. They never had my attitude'," Akhtar told ESPNCricinfo.
"I said 'When I will run in, I am going to own the ground. I am going to take wickets'. They asked me how will you take wicket and then I said that I have learnt the trade of taking wickets. At the age of 16 we used to reverse-swing the ball in the nets."
Dwelling into the details about how Akhtar managed to pick the brains of some of the best bowlers from Pakistan, the former pacer pointed out that back then, there were many bowlers faster than him, so for him to strive to become the best, he combined various elements together.
"I will speak from my heart. There were 8 fast bowlers, all faster than me. Now imagine, I have to surpass them and then have to surpass Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis also. What will you do then? So, I started picking qualities from each of them," Akhtar added.
"I learnt how to sprint from one of them, learnt the bowling action from another, learnt the art of peaking from one, then training sense of one and learnt how to gym from another one. Once I came to the top, most of the people knew my capacity and understood that I could do wonders and if I steered clear of controversies then I could be something else."
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