Former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar narrated a story from the clash between India and Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup 2003.
India and Pakistan have always engaged in high-intensity battles. One of the best matches between the arch-rivals was during the World Cup 2003, which is still fresh in the memories of many fans.
Sourav Ganguly-led India thrashed the opposition by 6 wickets to keep their unbeaten World Cup record intact. The match was mostly known for the battle between Sachin Tendulkar and Akhtar. The Indian batter took the pacer to the cleaners and smashed him for 18 runs in an over.
Tendulkar played a magnificent innings of 98 runs in just 75 deliveries and helped his side chase the target of 274 runs to clinch the match by the margin of 6 wickets.
Speaking to Star Sports, Shoaib Akhtar revealed that before the game he was in the hospital because of his knee issues and he told his skipper he’s not 100% fit.
“I was in a hospital 1.5 days before the match. It was my 25th or 26th injection on my knee. I told the captain that I'm having some difficulty bowling, I'm not enjoying it to the fullest,” Shoaib Akhtar said.
Taking a dig at then captain Waqar Younis, Akhtar said that he was removed from the attack after being hit for a six. He said that had Imran Khan been captain, he would’ve told him to bowl fast even if he gets hit for six sixes.
“If Imran Khan was there, he would have told me, 'Tu bhaag ke aa aur sirf bodyline bowling kar (pointing towards head). 6 chakke maarta hai toh maarne de. Hamein ek wicket chahiye. Ek toh mishit hoga hi' (You just keep running fast and bowl.
“Target his head. Even if you get hit for six sixes, you bowl. We only need a wicket. There will be one mishit at the very least). But what actually happened? I was removed from the attack. I was hit for a six and then I was removed,” he said.
Akhtar claimed that if he would’ve dismissed Sachin and Sehwag earlier, they would’ve won half the battle.
“If I had dismissed Sehwag and Sachin there, we would've already won half the battle. I liked the fastest bowler tag, but I wanted wickets,” he said.
Even though Akhtar conceded 72 runs in his quota of 10 overs, he had the last laugh in the battle against Tendulkar as he removed him for 98.
(Star Sports inputs)