‘I really respect him’: Shoaib Akhtar says he and Virat Kohli would have been ‘best of friends’
India captain Virat Kohli has faced some of the best bowlers in the world throughout his international career. But he never faced Pakistan pace legend Shoaib Akhtar.Updated: May 24, 2020 11:48 IST
India cricket team captain Virat Kohli is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the modern era of cricket. The right-handed batsman has dominated with the bat in all three formats, and has also emerged as a successful captain. Whenever talking about the modern-day cricket, Kohli’s name is always there in the discussion. His staggering numbers further attest to his immense talent and stature as a cricketer.
Kohli has registered 7,240 runs in Test career in 86 matches, with 27 hundreds to his name in the longest format. The India captain has also scored 11,867 runs in the ODIs in 248 matches, with 43 tons to his name. He is also the leading run-scorer in the T20Is at the moment, with 2,794 runs in 82 games. Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar, a bowler Kohli never faced in his career, believes that had he been playing at the moment, he and Kohli would have been the best of friends.
Speaking in an ESPNCricinfo video podcast to Sanjay Manjrekar, Akhtar said “Virat Kohli and I would have been the best of friends. We both are Punjabi, we both have quite a similar nature.”
“He seems like he has a lot of heart, and even though, he’s a lot junior to me, I really respect him,” Akhtar further added. He, though, admitted that Kohli and him would have been the fiercest rivals on the field.
“We would have been the best of friends. But on the field, we would have been the best of enemies,” he said.
Akhtar retired from cricket with 178 Test wickets in 46 matches, and 247 wickets in 163 ODIs. He also played 15 T20Is for Pakistan, in which he picked 19 wickets.