England fast bowler Liam Plunkett, in a recent interview, revealed the ‘frightening’ experience of facing legendary pacer for the first time in Tests.
Speaking on the Broken Trophy podcast, Plunkett, who played alongside Akhtar during his county stint with Durham, said the Pakistan legend showed him no mercy when he made his Test debut against in Lahore back in 2005.
“In county cricket, I was first-change to Shoaib and Harmy. I was at slip for Harmy and leg-slip for Shoaib. I faced Shoaib Akhtar in my first ever Test match. Because I played with Durham before that, I was marking my run-up before the Test and he just smiled and said ‘I’m gonna kill you’ and laughed.” said 2019 World Cup winner Plunkett.
When it came to actually facing the 90-mile odd deliveries of Shoaib Akhtar in the match, Plunkett said that he recalls like it was yesterday.
“I remember it like it was yesterday, I was sat ready to bat, I was next in, and the TV screen’s right there, so you can see it’s like 96, 97, 96 [miles per hour]. Ashley Giles’ stumps get taken out, and I walk out to a guy who’s bowling 90 mile an hour.” added Plunkett
Luckily enough, Plunkett was able to get back up on his feet to face the frightening pace of Shoaib Akhtar as he strung together a defiant knock of nine runs from 51 deliveries. In the end it was former Pakistani pacer Mohammed Sami who claimed Plunkett’s wicket.
However, Akhtar did not let go Plunkett scot-free as he was hit by a vicious bouncer from the fiery pace bowler.
“I got my first medal of honour, he hit me on the shoulder. I pretty much shit my pants at that point.” Plunkett concluded.