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I went holy smoke: Lee on seeing Akhtar bowl for first time

The 43-year-old recalled being in awe of the pace at which the Rawalpindi Express was bowling when he burst onto the scene

PHOTO: AFP

Australia’s legendary fast-bowler Brett Lee, during an Instagram live session, revealed his reaction after watching Pakistan’s former speedster Shoaib Akhtar for the first time while featuring in a Test match for the Men in Green.

The 43-year-old recalled being in awe of the pace at which the Rawalpindi Express was bowling when he burst onto the scene during the late ’90s.

"We both loved to bowl fast and see the ball fly through. I remember playing for my home club, we had finished the game and gone back to aerosol to have a drink and celebrate a win. I remember watching Pakistan playing a Test match and the Rawalpindi Express. I see this guy with the beautiful black flowing hair running in with a quick arm action and I went ‘Holy smoke! That is good pace. Who is this guy? What’s this guy’s name?’ and they just kept on saying Shoaib Akhtar and he just burst on to the scene,” Lee said.

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“It must have been the late 90’s, 97 or 98 it might have been. I just thought that he is so exciting to watch. I don’t care what country someone comes from or their beliefs; if they are bowling quick I love to watch it,” he added.

The former Aussie quick went on to state that his South Africa’s former pacer Alan Donald was his hero growing up.

"My hero growing up was Alan Donald AKA White Lightning. He was real fast. The thing I liked most was his action. He had that beautiful approach to the crease, that rhythmical action, a good sprint, he looked strong at the crease, had a beautiful follow-through, had aggression but seemed like a nice guy off the field. To this day that was the reason why I wore my white sweatband because my hero used to wear it,” he concluded.

Lee, one of the fastest bowlers to ever play the sport, represented Australia in 76 Tests, 221 One-day Internationals (ODIs) and 25 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) while picking up 310 wickets, 380 wickets and 28 wickets respectively in each format.