Shoaib Akhtar speaks about the love he received from India
Pakistan’s legendary former player, Shoaib Akhtar, in a Youtube video, expressed his love for India and Indian people and thanked them for the support he received during the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he represented the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise.
The Rawalpindi Express claimed Kolkata was one of his favorite venues and believed the stadium was home to some of his best performances.
“Kolkata was amazing. The people of that city were amazing. I have been loved all over India, and I am very grateful to you. My best performances have probably reached that ground. I have many memories in Eden Garden. It’s one of my favourite grounds and one of my favourite pitches to play. I loved everything,” Shoaib said.
The Rawalpindi Express stated that its period with KKR was possible because of the help it received from the government of the time.
“I was facing a five-year ban at the time. The Pcb President wrongly imposed the ban. This jeopardized my IPL contract. I was about to file a case against the ban, but the government of the time intervened. Asif Ali Zardari intervened and resolved the matter. I’m very grateful to him for this, ” he said.
Akhtar stated that Indian actor and KKR owner Shahrukh Khan and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly were instrumental in making it appear in the IPL.
“Shahrukh kept asking me about my condition. Ganguly kept asking, too. I kept telling them I could come and i was banned because I criticized the pitches. I said fast-bowling players break their backs on poor pitches. You [PCB] should consider this. The PCB president was offended by this and, based on personal revenge, imposed a ban on me,” he said.
The former player revealed that Khan and Ganguly were very helpful and gave him much support.
“At IPL, Shahrukh took great care of me. He asked me to rest or play. I said I wanted to play. Ganguly asked me how fit she was, and I told her I wasn’t really. He said at the team meeting that Shoaib is fit. The coach said no. Ganguly said I’d like a half-adjusted shoaib. He gave a call of silence to the coach, ” he said.
Akhtar recalled the love he receives during his first match for the KKR franchise and state that it was the same across the country.
“When I entered the ground, a hundred thousand crowds were cheering me on. This crowd used to react very strongly against me. When I was playing for Kolkata, they gave me much love. The whole crowd was behind me. All Indian media also backed me up to play and perform there. It was also good for the IPL to play in it,” he said.
The fast-bowling player revealed that he suffered tremendous pain during the match due to his knee but persevered. He said he received much admiration from Khan and Ganguly after his performance in the game.
Shahrukh asked me why I endure much pain. I told him this had a part of my life. If I could have played two or three years without pain, I would have taken more than 200 wickets. Shahrukh took pity on me, and Ganguly said we won the game because of you,” he said. Shahrukh came up to me and then took me to the hotel on his shoulder. I asked him that he had won so many matches before, why do you give me so much love? He said it was because you resist so much pain to help us win and we’re really grateful.”