Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar is widely regarded as one of the fastest bowlers to have ever graced the game. An active member of the Pakistani pace department between 1997 and 2011, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ bagged 444 wickets across his 224 international appearances. Even after retirement, the cricketer makes his presence felt in the game as he is one of the most popular YouTubers (over 2 million subscribers) from the cricketing fraternity.
In a recent interview with IANS, Shoaib Akhtar was asked which actor would he choose to play him if a biopic is made on his life. The 44-year-old responded that while the decision is up to the filmmakers and fans, he would pick Bollywood actor Salman Khan for the same. Further in the interview, Shoaib Akhtar said that if people think his journey has been interesting and inspiring enough, then a movie can be made on his life. He ended his response by expressing his keenness to see Salman Khan portraying his role in a movie.
Incidentally, Akhtar and Khan share a good friendship, with the former visiting the latter's house on many instances on his visits to India. A few years ago, Shoaib had publicly expressed his disappointment at Khan being arrested for 5 years over the 1997 black bucks poaching case in Rajasthan and wished his family the best. Khan eventually was released on bail.
Just like Shoaib Akhtar, Bollywood actor Salman Khan is also a well-known figure albeit from the film industry. The actor is already accustomed to acting in sports-based films as he delivered one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time with Sultan in 2016. Sultan was a movie based on wrestling where Salman Khan played a middle-aged wrestler in a titular role opposite to actress Anushka Sharma.
Shoaib Akhtar is one of the more recognisable names associated with Pakistan cricket to have a massive fan following in India. His following in India only strengthened when he actually represented an Indian-based franchise in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament. Playing in the inaugural season, Akhtar represented Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly. Co-incidentally, KKR is co-owned by two well-known Bollywood actors as well