Throughout his career, Shoaib Akhtar's bouncers often hit unsuspecting batsmen blinded by his pace. He often followed them up with a frightening stare and a few not-so-kind words.
This led to some historic clashes with some legendary batsmen that made for some of the most exhilarating duels in international cricket. The most storied of them being his duels with Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.
Did u know about this fact that have injured more batsman,s then any 1
which i never enjoyed it but apart-from 1 guess who is it ?? pic.twitter.com/N9wJ8axV8s
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) July 24, 2017
But the Pakistan speedster on Monday revealed to his half-a-million odd followers on Twitter that he never enjoyed hitting batsmen except for one surly left-handed batsman, Matthew Hayden. The Rawalpindi Express first posted a fact that claimed no bowler in the history of cricket had caused more batsmen to retire hurt than him: 19. He, then, asked Twitterati to guess who was the one batsman he enjoyed hitting.
It was Matthew Hayden I wanted to hit badly during my playing days & I did that many times during test & practice games&now we r best mates. — Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) July 25, 2017
In a bold and candid admission in the following tweet, he revealed it to be Hayden. He added how he wanted to hit the Australian opener "badly" succeeding many times in Tests and practice games.
The pair had several famous duels in their career and first met when Pakistan toured Australia in the summer of 1999-2000. In a tour match at Brisbane's Allan Border Field, Hayden – seven Tests old at the time – steadfastly faced Akhtar's short-ball barrage before going on to register a well-deserved century. But he was dismissed by Akhtar in the end, who gave him a typical send-off to the dressing room. The rest, as they say, is history.
The mini rivalry continued in Sharjah in 2002 and when Pakistan toured again in the summer of 2004-05. He dismissed the Australian thrice in Tests and once in ODIs.
But now we are best of friends now & I think he's 1 of the most generous & kind human being I ever met is Matthew Hayden.
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) July 25, 2017
Akhtar, though, admitted that they have since become the "best of friends" adding how his former foe is "one of the most generous & kind(est) human beings" he has ever met.