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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

On This Day: When Shoaib Akhtar’s broke the 100mph barrier

The International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to accept Shoaib Akhtar's thunderbolt as a world record as one of the sponsors provided the speed gun used for the match. 

By: Sports Desk | Updated: April 27, 2020 12:56:03 pm
Shoaib Akhtar (File Photo)

Breaking the 100 miles per hour (160.934 kilometers per hour) barrier has been a dream for fast bowlers around the world. Former Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar achieved the feat by bowling a 161.3 mph delivery to New Zealand’s Craig McMillan in an ODI at Lahore on April 27, 2002.

However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to accept it as a world record as one of the sponsors provided the speed gun used for the match.

Shoaib Akhtar. (Express archive photo)

Following the controversy, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had released a statement reading: “According to the speed gun operated in the ground by a sponsor, Shoaib Akhtar bowled a delivery at a speed off 161 kph during the 3rd ODI between Pakistan and New Zealand at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.”

Akhtar’s thunderbolt of a delivery did not enter the history books. But the Rawalpindi Express did not take too long to do it again. The speedster clocked at 100.24 mph (161.3 mph) against England in a World Cup Group A match at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa, February 22, 2003.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether somebody recognises the speed gun or not. For me, it’s satisfying that I have bowled the fastest-ever delivery.” Akhtar said after breaching the world record.

Since then Australian speedsters Shaun Tait and Brett Lee came close to breaking the record as they breached the 100mph mark. Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc too came close to reaching the three figures but fell short by 0.3 mph.

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Akhtar retired from international cricket in 2011 with 444 wickets to his name in his international career.

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