Thursday, Aug 18, 2022

Fans Roast Shoaib Akhtar For Claiming He Can Dismiss Steve Smith On The Fourth Ball After Three 'Hurting Bouncers'

It will take four deliveries for Shoaib Akhtar to send the world's premier batsman Steve Smith back in the hut even today, claimed the former Pakistan fast bowler and fans have their say

Shoaib Akhtar and Steve Smith

"How many bouncers must a batsman cope
Before you call him a batsman?"

That's Bob Dylan singing, probably protesting the changing nature of the game, in a parallel universe where cricket is still a gentleman's game. But in reality, batsmen coping nasty bouncers have not only become a new norm, but it has been accepted as a part and parcel of the game. (More Cricket News)

Probably, that's what legendary Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wanted to invoke. The message is straight and to the point. It read: "Even today, 3 hurting bouncers and i can dismiss @stevesmith49 [Steve Smith] on the 4th ball. Lol".

Bouncers are like tackles in a game of football - a foul, if not executed correctly, could end careers of players. And Steve Smith, the prodigious Australian batsman, witnessed the reality of coping a few. Fortunately for him, he survived. But there were few unlucky ones. And memories are still fresh in the sport's collective consciousness.

WATCH: Smith Survives Brutal Blow To Head By Archer

That little 'lol' at the end of the tweet did little to deflect the message. Akhtar relayed the message that, he can still intimidate a rival batsman with bouncers. That's where fans jump in -- to defend the batsman, in this case, Smith, and also to question the ex-bowler's intention. There are more who, in fact, wondered about the bowler's self aggrandisation too.

The game's global governing body, the International Cricket Council, was among those who reacted to Akhtar's comment, and it's pretty brutal.

Here are others:

Now, to the context: Akhtar was responding to a poll on Twitter where ESPNCricinfo paired 20 top players -- former and current -- with each other and asked fans to pick one contest they would love to watch.

Smith vs Akhtar was an option.

The others were Sachin Tendulkar and Rashid Khan, Ricky Ponting and Jofra Archer, Virat Kohli and Shane Warne, Brian Lara and Neil Wagner, AB de Villiers and Wasim Akram, Kane Williamson and Muttiah Muralitharan, Kevin Pietersen and Kagiso Rabada, Saeed Anwar and Jasprit Bumrah, Babar Azam and Glenn McGrath.

For the uninitiated, Smith is currently the top-ranked ICC Test batsman and is often hailed as 'already' one of the greatest batsmen of all time. And he's coped many bouncers, including a frighting one from England pacer Jofra Archer.   


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