New Delhi: Ever boastful, the bad boy of Pakistan cricket speedster Shoaib Akhtar has made some truly tall claims in an autobiography released on Friday, questioning the abilities of two of the greatest batsmen in the game's history, India's Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

The two Indians have between them scored over 56,000 runs in Tests nd ODIs, but Akhtar says in the book "Controversially Yours" that they do not know "the art of finishing the game".

Pakistan's enfant terrible, who claimed to have bowled the fastest ball ever of 161.3 kmph, chose to release the book here obviously with an eye on the lucrative Indian market. Characteristically, he makes tall claims in the book.

"....Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and the likes of them are great batsmen who dominated with the bat and were truly match-winners. Initially, when I bowled against Sachin, I found these qualities missing. He might have had more runs and records, he lacked the ability to finish the game," he said in the book.

Akhtar, who retired from international cricket during the World Cup this year, referred to India's tour of Pakistan in 2006 and said that his team could have faced a humbling defeat but for the fact that they managed to rein in Tendulkar.

"What went in our favour was that Sachin was suffering from tennis elbow! This severely handicapped the great batsman. We managed to psychologically browbeat him.

"We bounced the ball at him and were able to unnerve him. I returned to the dressing room that first day with the knowledge that Sachin was not comfortable facing fast and rising ball. He was distinctly uncomfortable against me. That was enough to build on," he said.

"I bowled (Sachin) a particularly fast ball which he, to my amazement didn't even touch. He walked away! That was the first time, I saw him walk away from me-- that, too, on the slow track at Faisalabad. It got my hunting instincts up and in the next match I hit him on the head and he couldn't score after that," Akhtar wrote referring to the Faisalabad Test of 2006.

Akhtar and Tendulkar have played against each other in nine Tests and 19 ODIs. In these nine Tests, Akhtar has taken 27 wickets while Tendulkar has scored 416 runs at an average of 41.60. In 19 ODIs, Akhtar has taken 27 wickets while Tendulkar has scored 864 runs at an average of 45.47.

Akhtar has dismissed Tendulkar three in Tests and five times in ODIs.

The 36-year-old Akhtar, who had scalped 178 wickets in 46 Test and 247 I wickets in 163 ODIs, said that Tendulkar and Dravid were "not exactly match winners to start with".

"I think players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid weren't exactly match winners to start with, nor did they know the art of finishing the game," Akhtar said.
Akhtar, who played for Shah Rukh Khan co-owned Kolkata Knight Riders during IPL, has claimed that the Bollywood superstar and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi did not honour their commitment.

"Shahrukh and I talked about my not being happy with the money settled on me. Shahrukh and Modi got me to agree. I should have never listened to Modi and Shahrukh," he said in the book.

Akhtar also spoke at length about politics in Pakistan Cricket Board. He didn't shy away from taking a dig at two former captains Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik.

He didn't stop short of calling Malik a "stooge of PCB chairman Naseem Ashraf" and that's why he was made the captain.

(Agencies)