Former World Cup-winning captain Michael Clarke has faced a lot of fast bowlers in his playing days, the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and sometimes Shaun Tait at the nets. These bowlers were a nightmare for any team and would generate some serious pace. Clarke though marked one bowler who he feels was the fastest among all.
Right since his debut against India in the year 2004, Clarke was destined to achieve great things and was touted to be a leader when Ricky Ponting would call it quits. In his long and illustrious career, the former elegant right-hand batter would score runs in both the longer formats. He finished his career scoring close to 17000 runs across formats and was often the key wicket of the opposition team.
During his playing days, there was always one question on everyone’s mind that who among Akhtar, Brett Lee, and Tait was the fastest. Both the speedsters would often clock 150 Kmph and would often hit the ribcages of the batsmen.
Lee was quick, Shoaib was quicker: Michael Clarke
Speaking on the Uncensored Podcast Clarke has picked Akhtar.
“Shoaib Akhtar was the fastest I have faced. He could bowl 160. Different type of bowler who could bowl quick for three overs. Flintoff was quick for 12 overs. Lee was quick. Shoaib was quicker. Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, and Jason Gillespie were fast. But Shoaib Akhtar was the fastest,” Clarke said.
Akhtar’s action and run-up were often talked about among the cricketing community for a long time. He was relentless with his pace and had variations such as yorker, bouncer, deceptive slower ball in his repertoire. Be it in Tests or ODIs, Akhtar was often the go-to bowler for Pakistan’s captain whenever he needed wickets.
Recently Tendulkar too spoke about the fast bowler on how he had broken his ribcage during the match. It ruled the Master Blaster out for two to three months. He finished his career with 444 wickets across formats and is widely remembered for inspiring young cricketers to take fast bowling.