England’s tour of Pakistan in 2005-06 was the last time the Three Lions toured the country. The high-octane series holds a special place in the career of former Pakistani fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar.
The star-studded English team were on a high after featuring in the famous Ashes series that summer – termed as the best series ever when it comes to Test cricket.
England team, then, fought hard and did not shy away from frequently sledging the opposition. One of the sledges during the series was delivered by former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
In Akhtar’s words, Flintoff mocked him by comparing his physique with Tarzan, the famous comic book character, but said he bowled like Jane.
The verbal duel fired up Akhtar and in turn, put his career back on track. For which, he remained grateful for Freddie Flintoff.
“Freddie, I’ve got to be thankful to you. Had it not for you, my career would have long gone. In that series against England, if you wouldn’t have treated me, I’m not going to say badly, but you motivated me enough to get back into the side,” Akhtar said in a conversation with Flintoff at TalkSport’s podcast.
Further, Akhtar conceded that Flintoff’s behaviour was rude. Also, the Rawalpindi express intended to hurt the English players, especially going after Flintoff.
“I thought that the behaviour was a bit rude towards me and I thought you could not fully understand me. And on top of that, you said a famous line, ‘You look like a Tarzan, but bowl like Jane’. I said this Jane can bowl fast, let me show this guy to you,” concluded Akhtar.
The result of a fired-up Rawalpindi Express was him clinching 17 scalps in the series. His best coming in the final Test match at Lahore, where he picked a fifer.
Pakistan won the three-match Test series by a margin of 2-nil and wrapped up the subsequent ODI series by 4-1.