Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar backs Rohit Sharma to be the Indian team’s next Test captain. In a chat on the sideline of the Legends Cricket League, which is being played in Oman, Akhtar spoke to The Indian Express on various issues, including why it is wrong that fast bowlers are not looked at as potential captains.
At one time in Pakistan, fast bowlers like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were captains. Recently Pat Cummins was given the responsibility of leading Australia. Will Jasprit Bumrah make a good captain? Why doesn’t the world trust fast bowlers as captains?
It is believed that batsmen are smarter than fast bowlers. However, it’s not the case. Both are good. Motivation is high in fast bowlers as they want to finish the match by taking wickets. Fast bowlers have an attacking mindset. I have always believed that batsmen have a defensive mindset. Pakistan and India started the practice of appointing fast bowlers as captains in 1980s and 90s. Kapil Dev was a fast bowler too. The fast bowlers’ (effectiveness) has been taken away from cricket by putting restrictions (field restrictions, restrictions on bouncers). That’s why cricket is going down these days.
Why do you think Virat Kohli gave up captaincy?
Everyone knows what is happening to him and who is doing it. I do not need to say anything. He captained for six-seven years. I was not in favor of his captaincy. I just wanted him to keep scoring hundreds. Let him just focus on his batting. Let him just score runs now.
Who is a good choice as Kohli’s successor?
I think Rohit Sharma would be the right choice for the time being. It’s good if he doesn’t succumb to this pressure.
You had a knee issue and many fast bowlers have faced similar issues post-retirement. How have you coped?
I had a lot of problems with my knees post my playing days. I want to do surgery and will do it in the coming months. My only advice to youngsters is to train hard and recuperate hard.
Devendra Pandey is in Muscat on the invitation of the Legends Cricket League