Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar has joined the ranks of those congratulating Sourav Ganguly on becoming president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). In a video posted on his official YouTube channel, the Rawalpindi Express welcomed the move and heaped praise on his former adversary.
However, there was one comment from the retired pacer which was a bit unflattering. Shoaib, after praising Ganguly, said that those people who think that he was scared of Akhtar are wrong. He emphasized that point and then explained that the problem with Ganguly was his inability to play pull and hook when facing the fast-bowler from Rawalpindi.
"Many people used to think that Sourav Ganguly was afraid of me. I have, indeed, hit him a lot of times and have tried to scare him. But this is a misconception of people that he was scared of me. His problem was that he couldn't hook or pull me. That was a drawback in his batting and we realised that very early on and Wasim bhai (Akram) told me to target his ribs," the former Test cricketer said.
Throughout the video, Akhtar heaped praise on the Dada of Indian cricket and described his ascension to the presidency of BCCI as a very good development. In the process of talking about the great leadership qualities, Akhtar credited Ganguly of transforming Indian cricket and instilling different culture in the Indian side.
"This is a very good news. Because I think the one man who transformed Indian cricket was Sourav Ganguly. Until Sourav Ganguly became captain, around 97-98, I never felt that India can beat Pakistan. Also, not once did I feel that Indian team had that vibe, that burning passion, that mischief or that system that can lead them to victory over us," the former pacer asserted.
But that wasn't the only praise that he poured on Sourav. He went so far as to compare the former Indian captain with the legendary Imran Khan, current Prime Minister and former cricket captain of Pakistan.
Rawalpindi Express compared the nurturing of young talent by Ganguly with how Imran brought forward young players in his day. He also credited the Prince of Kolkata with giving importance to fast bowlers. Apart from this, Akhtar described his former adversary as a good human being.
As far as his expectations from Sourav Ganguly as BCCI president are concerned, Akhtar wants Ganguly to use BCCI's leverage with International Cricket Council (ICC) to give greater impetus to Test cricket and improve the lot of fast bowlers. Only time will tell whether Ganguly would come good on these expectations.