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The story of Shoaib's wicket celebration

11 August 2017

Shoaib celebrates a wicket in trademark fashion // Getty Images

Rawalpindi Express explains his love of fighter jets was the reason for his trademark celebration

Former Pakistan quick Shoaib Akhtar has revealed his trademark wicket celebration stemmed from his dream to be a fighter pilot and his love of jet planes.

Akhtar, arguably the fastest bowler to ever play the game, terrorised batsmen for more than a decade and would celebrate his wickets by raising both arms out from his side and running down the pitch.

His celebration became his trademark and The Rawalpindi Express revealed via his aptly named Twitter handle @shoaib100mph that his celebration mimicking a plane stemmed from his love of jets.

Akhtar, whose international career ended in 2011, took 444 wickets for Pakistan and his delivery in a 2003 World Cup match against England, clocked at 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph), is the fastest ever recorded in an international match.

Indian great MS Dhoni recently labelled Akhtar the most difficult bowler he faced during his international career while no less a judge than Ricky Ponting rated a spell from Akhtar at the WACA Ground in 1999 as the quickest he ever faced.

From the Vault: Shoaib sizzles at the Gabba

Well known for his fiery spells, Akhtar also recently revealed details of an infamous confrontation with former Australia opener Matthew Hayden.

The pair had several run-ins during their careers and their animosity went back to a tour match on Pakistan's visit in the summer of 1999-2000.

Quick Single: Shoaib reveals extent of Hayden animosity

Batting for Queensland, Hayden wore many blows to the upper body and helmet from Shoaib, who had taken objection to the big-hitting opener's brusque approach at the wicket.

At one point during the match, Akhtar put his thumb to his nose, waggled his fingers and poked his tongue out as he approached the crease in his run-up. An unperturbed Hayden defended the short ball resolutely, and over the course of nearly six hours he was masterful in compiling 128, featuring 15 boundaries and a six.

From the Vault: Shoaib sizzles at the WACA

His dismissal, to the first ball of a new Shoaib spell, pitched outside leg to the batsman's eye, and Hayden's mood was darkened further when the weary bowler still found it in him to give him a send-off to the dressing room.

But Shoaib said recently that he and Hayden are nowadays "best mates" and the pair did enjoy some banter in the lead-up to their first T20 match against each other, in the Cricket All Stars event in the US set up by Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar in 2015.

Shoaib Akhtar's fearsome bouncer


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