Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has responded to Virender Sehwag’s comments that the ’Rawalpindi Express' was a chucker and hence was banned by the ICC. Taking a friendly dig at the former India opener, Akhtar said that he would agree with Sehwag if he had more knowledge than the ICC.
In 1999, the former Pakistan pace spearhead was banned for 'throwing' for a month before returning with remodeled bowling action. Speaking to Sports18, Sehwag recently claimed:
"Shoaib knows he used to jerk his elbow; he knew he was chucking too. Why would ICC ban him otherwise?”
Responding to the former India batter’s allegations, Akhtar told Sportskeeda:
“I would request Virender Sehwag not to make such statements. If he knows more than the ICC, then I would agree with him. But that is his opinion. Rest, I can’t say much about that.”
Stating that he hadn’t seen Sehwag’s interview, the 46-year-old termed the 'Nawab of Najafgarh' as a very good friend who says a lot of things. He continued:
“I don’t know if he has said this in a light-hearted tone or seriously. But whatever he says, I don’t feel bad about it at all. I wish him all the best. He is entitled to his own opinions and thoughts. That’s all I have to say.”
Praising Sehwag as one of the greatest match-winners India has ever produced, the former Pakistan speedster opined that he would personally refrain from making such controversial statements. He said:
“I am at a stage and age where I would weigh my comments very carefully. I would not make any statement on any player who has played at the national level, which hurts that person’s reputation in any way.”
Sehwag and Akhtar were involved in many on-field battles during their playing days, which began when the former made his ODI debut in 1999. It was the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ who dismissed Sehwag in his debut game, trapping him lbw for 1 in Mohali.
“Request Sehwag to be mindful” - Shoaib Akhtar says controversial statements can hurt Indo-Pak relations
Urging Sehwag to be careful while making controversial statements, Akhtar pointed out that it could affect relations between India and Pakistan. He opined:
"Cricketers should make sure their statements don't disturb the harmony between India and Pakistan. If there's scope for improvement in relations between the two countries, I should be able to play that bridge. I request Sehwag to be mindful while making such statements in the age of social media.”
In a career stunted due to injuries, the former Pakistan speedster claimed 178 wickets in 46 Tests, 247 scalps in 163 ODIs, and 19 wickets in 15 T20Is.