COLOMBO, March 19: Maverick speedster Shoaib Akhtar, said on Saturday that had he played under iconic former captain Imran Khan, he would have emerged as a better bowler and human being.
“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,” said Shoaib who announced his retirement from all cricket on Thursday which will come into effect after the World Cup.
“Almost every cricketer of his time and afterwards looked up to Imran as the ultimate leader and mentor and I am no exception.”
When asked if the world’s best batsman Sachin Tendulkar was ever a daunting sight for him, Shoaib said he was never scared by the legendary Indian player. “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,” said Shoaib candidly
Speaking about his countless run-ins with the PCB during his topsy-turvy career, Shoaib 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 to a question about the many controversies in his career.
Having got a lot of fame, money and adulation from the game, the star cricketer said he wants to give something back to the society.
In fact, like his idol Imran Khan, Shoaib aims to build a hospital.
“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. 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.”