Shoaib Akhtar Recalls His Days With KKR In IPL 2008

stumpsandbails
2 min readMar 30, 2022

Former Pakistan star pace bowler, Shoaib Akhtar has shared an unusual incident during his tenure with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 2008 Indian Premier League (IPL). He discussed how Sourav Ganguly, the former KKR skipper, pushed for his inclusion in the playing XI despite head coach John Buchanan considering worries about his full fitness to emerge into the match. Unfortunately, Akhtar was hampered by injuries during his tenure, missing several important games as a consequence.

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Furthermore, he had to skip multiple games for KKR during the debut season of the IPL due to a suspension issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). As a result, he only got the chance to play 3 matches in that season and grabbed 5 wickets, along with a four-wicket haul on debut versus the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). Furthermore, even after his exile was removed, Akhtar was not a nailed-on starter in the XI.

Akhtar opens up on how Ganguly backed him to join the KKR camp

Buchanan was worried about his decision, yet Ganguly supported him: “I was serving a ban when I joined the KKR camp and hadn’t played matches. John Buchanan told Sourav Ganguly that he doesn’t think I am fit enough. To which Ganguly replied that he has always been unfit. Don’t worry about him. It will be okay even if he’s half unfit,” said Akhtar.

It’s worth noting that while Akhtar, one of the quickest bowlers in history, didn’t get to play enough T20 cricket, he nevertheless left an unforgettable impression. There in IPL, he took 5 wickets, but with the national squad, he grabbed 19 wickets in 15 T20Is. Interestingly, the pace bowling icon is a huge fan of Ganguly, and he is never hesitant about hailing the present BCCI president.

For now, Akhtar is retired, yet he remains in the press attributable to his daring and outspoken words. He previously suggested that present Pakistan captain Babar Azam would have cost approximately Rs 15–20 crore if he had played in the IPL. Furthermore, either because of political conflicts between the 2 countries, Pakistan players did not compete in the Indian T20 league after the 2008 edition.

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