LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has a firm belief that it was Shahid Afridi who "changed the mindset of opening in Test cricket" and not Virender Sehwag.
While being in a conversation with Afridi o a YouTube chat show, Akram said, "In Test cricket, Sehwag came later but in 1999-2000 Shahid Afridi changed the mindset of opening in Test cricket. Even if I was the bowler, I would know that I can get him out but also know that he can hit me for boundaries. He used to hit lose deliveries for sixes at will."
Almost the entire cricket fraternity believes that it was the Indian cricket legend Virender Sehwag who started giving the bowlers a hard time at the start of a Test match.
Akram revealed that Afridi, who made his debut as an opener in Test cricket against Australia in 1998, was not supposed to be a part of that Pakistan side which toured India in 1999-2000 where the Pakistani all-rounder made his name as a Test batsman.
In the first Test in Chennai, Afridi scored his maiden Test century thus helping Pakistan to take a lead and eventually winning the series by 2-1.
Akram said, "I called Imran Khan before the tour selection. I told him ‘skipper I want to take Shahid Afridi on tour but a few selectors were against it. He told me ‘You should definitely take him, he will win a one-two Test matches and make him open the batting. I generally discussed a lot with Imran, sometimes before the tour, sometimes during the tour and his suggestions always came in handy."
Further recalling the Chennai Test win, Akram said, "What a knock it was on that Chennai track. Afridi used to dance down the track and hit (Anil) Kumble and (Suni) Joshi for sixes."
However, Afridi could not establish himself as a Test cricketer as he only managed to score five centuries in 27 matches. On the other hand, former Indian cricketer Sehwag represented his country in 104 Test matches and scored 23 centuries, including 2 triple hundreds.