Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar feels Rohit Sharma’s Test career will only grow after his century in both the innings of his debut match as opener while pacer Mohammed Shami can become the king of reverse swing.
Akhtar also lamented that no Pakistani pacer has sought his advice while Indians like Shami has been keeping in touch with him regarding fast bowling.
“Rohit Sharma is hitting hundred after hundred and I have been saying that Rohit should be in the Indian Test team. Form here, he will become a great Test player. Rohit the Test player will grow bigger,” Akhtar said on his Youtube channel.
While Rohit has been constantly compared with Virender Sehwag after being promoted as a Test opener, the former Pakistan pacer believed the Mumbai batsman had a better technique than the former India opener.
“Rohit Sharma has a much better technique than Virender Sehwag. Sehwag just had a will and aggressive mindset to hit shots all across the park. He (Rohit Sharma) has got great timing, a variety of shots and elegance. I really thought that he is the Inzamam-ul-Haq of India. Earlier, he had less passion for Tests as he wanted to be a specialist batsman for all different formats. Now you can see when Rohit put this thought out of his mind, he scored a century,” Akhtar added.
Akhtar said that he once advised Shami, who played a major in India’s big win over South Africa in the first Test, to try and become a tearaway pacer while also using reverse swing as a lethal arsenal.
“After India’s [50-over] World Cup disappointment, Shami called me up one day and said he was feeling sad that he could not do well for India. I told him not to lose heart but maintain fitness. The home series is coming and you will do well I said.
“I told Shami that I want him to become a tearaway pacer, running through batting line-ups. He has seam and swing, besides that he has reverse swing which very few bowlers in the subcontinent have. I told him you can become king of reverse swing,” said Akhtar.
“Now, you see what he has done, he has got wickets from a docile pitch (in Visakhaptnam). I am very happy for him,” said the 44-year-old who took 178 wickets from 46 Tests between 1997 and 2007.
He said he was ready to give advice to the Pakistani pacers but nobody is asking for his help.
“Sadly, our Pakistani fast bowlers don’t ask me how they can improve their bowling but the Indian bowlers like Shami are doing that. It is a sad scenario as far as my country is concern.”
(with PTI inputs)