Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag was one of the most destructive batsmen of all time. The swashbuckling opener is known to have changed the way Test cricket was played with his ferocious striking. There haven't been many players who have been able to impact the game's longest format like Virender Sehwag has done. Among the current lot, David Warner is one such player who has made a reputation of an attacking batsman in Tests and the southpaw credits Virender Sehwag for instilling the same fearless attitude in him.
However, according to former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, it wasn't Virender Sehwag who changed the dynamics of opening in Test cricket. Wasim Akram has credited his ex-teammate Shahid Afridi for his aggressive batting at the start of his career. Akram believes that it was Shahid Afridi who changed the mindset of opening in Tests.
Wasim Akram was speaking to Shahid Afridi in a YouTube chat show where he said that in Test cricket, Virender Sehwag came later but in 1999-2000 Shahid Afridi changed the mindset of opening in Test cricket. Wasim Akram added that even if he was the bowler, he would know that he could get Shahid Afridi out but also knew that Shahid Afridi could hit him for boundaries. Wasim Akram lauded Shahid Afridi and said that the right-hander used to hit lose deliveries for sixes at will.
Shahid Afridi made his Test debut as an opener in 1998 against Australia. But the explosive batsman left his mark in Pakistan's tour of India in 1999 when he scored a brilliant 141 in the first Test in Chennai to guide Pakistan to a win. Wasim Akram added that a few selectors were reluctant to include him for the tour but he consulted Imran Khan and the latter asked Wasim Akram to go ahead with his decision. Wasim Akram further said that Afridi used to shimmy down the track and hit Anil Kumble and Sunil Joshi for sixes.
Pakistan ended up levelling that series 1-1. However, Shahid Afridi's Test career never took off as he managed to play just 27 Tests for Pakistan. But he was a veteran for Pakistan in the limited-overs formats as he featured for them in 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is.