Rated as one of the fastest ever bowlers to grace the 22-yard strip, Shoaib Akhtar was nothing less than a running speed demon who used to send chills down the spine even among the greatest of the batters. But Akhtar was no Jofra Archer, despite his aggression and menacing pace – the Rawalpindi express always conducted himself like a true gentleman of the game. The Pakistan legend has come down heavily on England’s latest pace sensation – Archer for his poor on-field behaviour against the opposition batsman during 2nd Ashes Test at Lord’s on Saturday.
Akhtar criticised England pacer for not checking up on Steve Smith after striking him on the neck by a vicious bouncer. The former Australian skipper who is in incredible form was batting on 80 when the incident occurred. Playing his first Test for England, Archer delivered one of the most blistering spells of pace bowling seen during this year’s Ashes series.
“Bouncers are a part & parcel of the game but whenever a bowler hits a batsman on the head and he falls, courtesy requires that the bowler must go & check on him. It was not nice of Archer to just walk away while Smith was in pain. I was always the first one to run to the batsman,” Akhtar tweeted on Sunday.
The debutant sent one delivery into Smith’s arm before the Aussie batsman lost sight of one that rattled into his neck. Firstly, the former Australia skipper was struck on the elbow by Archer and soon after he received a striking blow on the neck by a bouncer bowled by the pacer and he immediately went down.
Physios from both England and Australia attended Smith, but the batsman had to leave the park in order to have a concussion test. A little while later, the batsman made his way back to the crease, but a section of England crowd was seen booing the player.
Smith went on to play a knock of 92 runs against England in the first innings of the second Test match. The right-handed batsman has been in a rich vein of form as he struck centuries in both innings of the first Test match. He became only the fifth Australian to score centuries in both innings of Ashes Test. He also surpassed Indian skipper Virat Kohli to become the second-fastest batsman to register 25 Test centuries.
Some fans also criticized Archer heavily for his ordinary behaviour after hitting the Australian ace.
Ever since, Australia landed in Australia to play the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and Ashes, Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been subjected to boos from the England crowd. The trio was involved in a ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018 and this resulted in the players getting suspended for one year.
In the ongoing second Test of the Ashes, England will resume day five at 96/4 with a lead of 104 in the second innings.