Shoaib Akhtar recently recalled how Shah Rukh Khan went crazy at the Eden Gardens after the pacer took 4 wickets in his first IPL game.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had the Pakistani fast bowler in their squad in the inaugural edition of the IPL. In his first match for the franchise, Akhtar dismantled the Delhi Daredevils led by Virender Sehwag as he took 4/11. He shared the memories of how everybody including KKR owner Shah Rukh Khan went crazy that day.
Akhtar said, “When I took 4 wickets, everyone went mad. Even Shah Rukh was running all over the ground, he went mad and was delirious. I thought did I win the world cup, such was the frenzy all around. Shah Rukh said you have won a very big match for us.”
The captain of that KKR side was the elegant left-hander Sourav Ganguly. In his autobiography, he has mentioned how he felt leading the fastest bowler in the world.
Ganguly wrote, “I knew Shoaib’s blistering pace was bound to make a difference in the shortest format. In fact it did. We knocked out Sehwag’s belligerent Delhi splendidly as the Rawalpindi Express cleaned them up, and Eden roared in delight. Shoaib took four wickets for 11 runs and we won a low-scoring match. It was one of our most memorable wins but we could not sustain it.”
“Handling Shoaib turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. Instead of turning around the competition for us, Shoaib suddenly decided not to play anymore. He withdrew after making only three appearances despite my repeated requests. He said he had an injury, but I for one found his injury mysterious. I pleaded with him that he had to send down only four overs. I said even with a small, niggling injury he must play. But it was impossible to get him on the park,” Ganguly added in the book.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)