Shoaib Akhtar opens up about his record-breaking fastest ball to Nick Knight

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Shoaib Akhtar (Screengrab: YouTube)
  • I said to him: 'I am going to hurt you, so make sure you stay out of the way.' I told him I'd bowl 100 mph in that over, on that exact ball," Akhtar revealed.

  • The 44-year-old also dropped his thoughts on a current lot of fast bowlers and said there are very few genuine pacers left in the game due to fresh laws which have brought more restrictions.

Extreme pace, outstanding stamina, and ability to intimidate batsmen irrespective of how much talent they had, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar was indeed a blessing for the cricketing world, especially for the ‘fast bowling’ admirers.


Akhtar was fast and scary and utterly unplayable on his day. He certainly elevated the impact of pace bowlers during his time. No wonder, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ was the first bowler to break the 100 mph mark.

But how did Akhtar manage to do that? Well, in a recent conversation with commentator Isa Guha and Aatif Nawaz on the BBC’s Doosra podcast, the former paceman revealed that breaking the record wasn’t a big deal for him. Akhtar used to bowl from 26 yards rather than the traditional 22 yards, in order to generate more pace.


“Breaking the 100mph barrier wasn’t a big deal to me. It was just media hype, an international cricket gimmick. I wasn’t getting paid for this — to break my bones trying to bowl that fast,” said Shoaib.

“I just thought: “For heaven’s sake, I need to finish this and just do it. So I planned it all out. I started training for it.

“I ran with 170kg weights on my back, taking 20kg off after every 100-metre sprint. I also used to bowl from 26 yards with something much heavier than a cricket ball. When I came back to the 22 yards, I was about 6km/h (3.7mph) quicker,” he added.


“I planned to bowl it against Nick Knight. I said to him: ‘I am going to hurt you, so make sure you stay out of the way.’ I told him I’d bowl 100 mph in that over, on that exact ball,” Akhtar revealed.

The 44-year-old also dropped his thoughts on a current lot of fast bowlers and said there are very few genuine pacers left in the game due to fresh laws which have brought more restrictions.

“Ten years ago, bowlers would bowl 155 kph (96.3 mph), and now they’re all of a sudden bowling 135km/h (83.9 mph). We now only have a few real fast bowlers around the world. Back in the day, South Africa alone had six.


“The cricket laws don’t allow you to bowl fast now: two new balls, too much restriction, too much cricket, too many Twenty20 leagues, too much money, too many TV rights,” articulated Akhtar.

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About the Author:
Akshat is just another cricket fan who’s grown up watching the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Cricket runs in his veins. Cover drive is his favorite sight, and a ball meeting the middle of the bat is his favorite sound. You can write to him at akshat.gaur@crickettimes.com or aks333.in@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin.