Coach said kid get out of nets or he will kill you: Babar Azam recalls spat with Shoaib Akhtar

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Regarded as one of modern day best and being compared with likes of Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Australian Steve Smith, Pakistan newly appointed limited over format captain and star batsman Babar Azam has recalled an incident when he made former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar angry during a net session.

Babar Azam recalled the incident that happened during a net session during an online interview with noted commentator Harsha Bhogle for Cricbuzz.

Babar Azam revealed how he kept playing drives against Akhtar despite the Rawalpindi Express telling him not to do so.

“I remember, there was a camp for the emerging players or Pakistan A. That time, they would even call some of us from the Under-15 team to practice with them. Mudassar Nazar, who was there, would call us to bat first. We were asked to bat first so that the bowlers could warm up and understand their paces,” said Azam.

“Shoaib Akhtar would come there at times, towards the end of the camp to bowl for a bit. One day, he asked for a batsman to bowl at and Mudassar bhai asked him to take me along with him. So I got ready and was quite excited. Shoaib told me, ‘Kid, I will pitch the ball full, just block it, don’t drive’. I said okay. I blocked the first two balls but drove the third one,” he added.

An angry Shoaib Akhtar, lashed out at Azam with the new ball, but a much-needed interference from former cricketer Mudassar Nazar who headed National Cricket Academy calmed things down.

“I kept doing that – block two balls and drive the third one. He was like, ‘Get me a new ball, I will show him’. Immediately, Mudassar bhai told me, ‘get out of the nets or he will kill you’. He took me out of the nets,” he said.

Babar said that the duo kept kept their net-session rivalry alive in a friendly manner, however there was one more incident that happened.

“However, whenever he would come to the nets thereafter, he would ask me to come and face him. He would bowl full but once, by mistake, he bowled a bouncer and luckily the ball went over my head,” he said.