Dawn News

Shoaib Akhtar pays tribute to pace rival Lee

Akhtar said cricket would be less attractive with the absence of express pace. -Photo by Reuters

KARACHI: Pakistan express fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar Saturday paid tribute to pace rival Brett Lee who has announced his retirement from international cricket, saying the Australian was a fierce competitor.

The 35-year-old Lee said Friday he was quitting, ending a glorious career that was marred by injury problems.

Lee sent down the second-fastest delivery on record at 99.9 miles per hour at Napier in New Zealand, only surpassed by Akhtar who hit the 100-mile barrier on two occasions, first in 2002 and then in 2003.

“Lee was a fierce competitor and became an identity for express bowling with his passion and love for the game and for fast bowling,” Akhtar, who retired last year after a career plagued by injury and controversy, told AFP.

Akhtar said Lee's retirement was a sad day for the game.

“Friday was a sad day for international cricket because a bowler with express pace has retired, someone who was loved by the fans around the world, and he will be missed,” said Akhtar.

“Lee gave everything to cricket and was a true Australian: fierce and battle-hardened. He was always willing to bowl and willing to bowl fast and like all the fast bowlers had injuries, which is part and parcel of fast bowling.”

Akhtar said cricket would be less attractive with the absence of express pace.

“Cricket had very few express pace bowlers and now after the retirement of Lee we don't have any bowler who can bowl 99 mph and the terror on the batsmen will be less,” said Akhtar.

Akhtar, 36, remembered his good times with Lee.

“I had very good friendship with Lee and spent some good days with him in Sydney and he was always warm and cordial whenever we met, so I wish him all the best in his future,” said Akhtar.

Lee retired from Tests in February 2010 as Australia's fourth-highest Test wicket-taker but played on in one-day and Twenty20 cricket up until Friday's announcement.

He took 310 Test wickets at 30.81 from 76 matches and 380 one-day international wickets at 23.36 from 221 matches.

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Comments (19) Closed

Jul 14, 2012 12:39pm
Lee enjoyed his cricket, and always had a smile on his face, and thats made people like him. All the best. Shame that we did not give respect to Shoaib, I think he was too honst, he said what he felt, and people don't like that in Pakistan.
Jul 14, 2012 02:38pm
That's true, its on YouTube. But I don't know if it was accepted. I think that the ICC said it wasn't an ICC speed gun so it couldn't be accepted. That's what happened with Shoaib the first time he crossed 100 mph.
Jul 14, 2012 03:01pm
The express fast bowling era has ended now lee joining shoab in retirement. I guess sami is the last of the pack left hope PCB will keep sami and let the fans of express fast bowling enjoy some last of the packs. Both Shoab and Lee were great to watch. I'm a big fan of you both specially Shoab and I believe that with the abscence of Shoab Akhtar we have a huge vacuum to fill in Pakistan cricket.
Jul 14, 2012 10:37am
We also love you Shoaibeee... You're our legend and will always be !
Jul 14, 2012 11:22am
On an unrelated note, Mohammad Sami has also crossed the 100 mile-barrier.
Jul 15, 2012 08:05am
Dont worry - Sami will also overstep by mistake and go to jail lol
Jul 14, 2012 08:20am
Brett Lee is a multi-talented handsome bowler and his retirement has let many of us sad in Pakistan. We are unlucky the due to suspension of International team tour to Pakistan we could not see more of him. We all wish him best of luck in his future endeavors. A warm farewell to Brett Lee.
Jul 14, 2012 08:38am
Lee career will be recognized by sheer pace, agression and accuracy. His consistency to bowl at fast pace will help him supercede his rival Shoaib Akhtar, which some time bowl 3 to 4 overs in a game. Shoaib akthar was no doubt a fierce bowler, a threat to batsmen but was too much arrogant and was not as consistant as Lee.
Jul 14, 2012 04:26pm
Shoaib himself has a lot of talent, he would have enjoyed many more years of good cricket career if he knew how to prevent injuries and control him temper.
Jul 14, 2012 10:09pm
Can you please tell us when was that?
Nadeem Mirza
Jul 14, 2012 11:53pm
when was that? I must have missed it. He is a good speedster but toothless. Bowling average of 50 + is enough to summarize his career. Ramiz nailed it when he said that he didn't bring in variety and improvise according to the situation. He is like a bowling machine, sending down quick deliveries no matter what the situation is and how the batsmen is adjusting Last ODI in SriLanka is a good example.. Maybe waseem, waqar and probably Imran should have coached him. Another great talent gone waisted by PCCB.
Jul 15, 2012 03:20am
where? in gulli crficket??
Jul 15, 2012 03:58am
The best player ever cricket has produced. Well done Mr. Lee, Not only the people of Australia but all cricket loving fans around the world feel proud having such a brilliant bowler and outstanding personality. My best wishes, regards and farewell to Mr. Brett Lee from Afghanistan.
Jul 15, 2012 04:27am
Syed u and your wishful thinking.
Jul 15, 2012 05:26am
Hay Mr. Admin, why did you remove the name of Afghanistan from the comment, Writing comment in Pakistani newspaper and forgetting my beloved country name impossible.
Jul 15, 2012 05:57am
Yes but Sami is a waste of talent and pace b'c he does not use his head when bowling. Shoaib was good but Lee was better.
amir muneer
Jul 15, 2012 08:36am
shoaib and lee both were the life of cricket .but nw crickt just a simple game .
dream girl
Jul 23, 2012 04:16pm
we have to work hard on fast bowlers to fill this vaccume in pakistani cricket
dream girl
Jul 23, 2012 04:14pm
love u and miss u shoaib u was the charm of pakistani fast bowler now it look's that fast bowling is going towards down