Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had an intense rivalry with Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar. Despite all the India-Pakistan rivalry, Akhtar has labelled Tendulkar as the 'greatest batsman ever' and has claimed that he enjoyed bowling to him. Sachin Tendulkar famously hit Shoaib Akhtar for a six over point in the 2003 World Cup clash in Centurion, which India won chasing down 277 courtesy the batsman's majestic knock of 98.
Speaking on an Instagram live session, Shoaib Akhtar was all praise for batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and claims that Sachin Tendulkar’s memorable six off him in the 2003 World Cup is the only moment Indian cricket fans remember. Akhtar adds that he got the better of the Master-Blaster '12-13 times' but all fans can remember is the six over point. The Pakistani pacer was instantly famous for polarizing reasons amongst the Indian fans and reflecting on the six, Shoaib Akhtar adds that if he had known that one six would make 1.3 billion Indians so happy, he would have let Sachin Tendulkar hit him for a six every day.
Shoaib Akhtar is renowned to make strange claims, having previously criticized for playing just for records and actually trembled when facing him, in his 2011 autobiography Controversially Yours. The former Pakistani pacer got the Sachin Tendulkar stats wrong as he actually dismissed him 8 times in international cricket.
Ironically, while former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi backed Akhtar's previous claims against Tendulkar, Wasim Akram had reportedly said that on the contrary, it was Shoaib Akhtar who had second thoughts on bowling to Tendulkar. Akram reveals that Akhtar walked up to the captain and said that he refused to bowl after that famous 2003 World Cup six.