Shoaib Akhtar opted for Naseem Shah as his bowling partner in Pakistan Cricket Board's Dream Pairs series. Earlier Wasim Akram chose the 17-year-old phenom as well.
“Naseem Shah is a fast bowler who can replicate my attitude, I would have made a fine pair with him. Among former greats, I would have loved to have bowled with Imran Khan with both him and me at our career peaks,” said Shoaib Akhtar.
In his short career, Naseem has made a mark in international cricket and is tipped to go from strength to strength in the years to come. He took a hat-trick against Bangladesh earlier this year and took a fifer against Sri Lanka before that. The tearaway quick is excited to get recognition from former legendary quicks.
“Delighted to get Shoaib Akhtar’s recognition following acknowledgement by Wasim Akram,” says Naseem Shah.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) introduced digital pairs series whereby current and ex-Pakistan cricketers pick two fast bowlers with whom they would have liked to bowl with.
Shoaib Akhtar has always been a fan of Imran Khan and mentioned how he would have been fortunate to bowl alongside one of the greatest all-rounders and that he shares the aggressive bowling mindset with Pakistan World Cup-winning captain.
“If I pick a former fast bowler, I feel I would have been very fortunate if I would have bowled with Imran Khan with both of us at the peak of our bowling careers. If we would have bowled together we would have had the same mindset of attacking the stumps relentlessly," Shoaib added.
Naseem idolized Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram when he was a kid - he's is still a teenager - and he vows to live up to his role models' expectations.
“I want to thank Shoaib for nominating me as his bowling partner, these bowlers were my idols and getting recognised by them is nothing short of a big honour for me.
“I agree that attitude and aggression are the keys to success for a fast bowler, I hope that I would live up to Shoaib’s expectations of me," Naseem added.
The bowling machine who religiously sticks to his line and length - Mohammad Abbas - named Wasim Akram and Hasan Ali as his dream bowling partners. Hasan hasn't played a lot of Test cricket but Abbas would relish sharing the ball with him and shows faith in the abilities of the former top-ranked ODI bowler.
“It is a great initiative by PCB; it isn’t easy to choose a pair considering the abundance of fast bowling stars. However since we have to choose one I name Wasim Akram as my bowling partner among former stars and Hasan Ali as my pair from the current lot," said Abbas.
The aim of the activity is to acknowledge the services of former and current stars of Pakistan cricket. After the two-day fast bowlers dream pairs activity, a similar campaign will run for spinners, all-rounders, popular wicket-keepers and captains.