Tendulkar never scared me as much as Gilchrist, Lara: Shoaib Akhtar

March 21st, 2011 - 2:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Shoaib Akhtar Colombo, Mar 21(ANI): Pakistan’s fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is set to retire from international cricket after the ongoing ICC World Cup 2011, has said that he would have emerged as a better bowler and human being if he had played under former captain Imran Khan, and also clarified that he was never scared by Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.

Talking about Imran, Akhtar said: “He [Imran] was like a father figure. I have missed him badly in my playing days. Had he been there, I would have become a better bowler and a better person.”

“Almost every cricketer of his time and afterwards looked up to Imran as the ultimate leader and mentor and I am no exception,” the Dawn quoted Akhtar, as saying..

When asked if Sachin Tendulkar, who is arguably the world’s best batsman, was ever a daunting sight for him, the Rawalpindi Express said that the legendary Indian player never scared him.

“He never scared me, I can tell you that. But that doesn’t mean I have no respect for Sachin. He is a legend and will always remain as one. It were guys like Gilchrist and Lara who scared the hell out of me,” he candidly said.

Speaking about his countless run-ins with the Pakistan Cricket Board during his topsy-turvy career, Akhtar said: “The system made me quite an anti-establishment person. Ever since I started playing cricket, I was told that I wasn’t good enough. Whether at the club level or national or international level, I was told I was never good enough. That made me more determined.”

“My system refused to swim with the tide. I was exactly the opposite. In spite of this, I have played cricket with my head held high. No one can say I have compromised myself when playing for Pakistan. Have you ever seen that I was linked with match fixing?” he shot back while responding to a question pertaining to the numerous controversies in his career.

Having earned a lot of fame, money and adulation from the game, the star cricketer expressed his desire to give back something to the society. In fact, he aims to build a hospital like his idol Imran Khan.

“I want to build a hospital in Islamabad … somewhere in the remote hills where no one can imagine medical facilities. I will lay the first brick and then God will help me do the rest,” said Akhtar.

“My real life begins now, the life away from the spotlight. There are so many things that I want to do now. I want to leave my mark on the common man,” he added. (ANI)

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