Battle legend Sachin Tendulkar is part of various cricket folklores, including intriguing battles with pacers from around the world. The ‘God of Cricket’ has dominated many such battles, but it has been rare for bowlers to have their say.
Former Pakistani pacesetter Shoaib Akhtar during a candid conversation with Sportskeeda recalled one such moment, which occurred during India’s trip to Pakistan in 2006.
It was the third test between the two countries in Karachi and Akhtar, who is known for his aggressive nature, admitted his intention was to hurt Tendulkar and not fire him.
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“I’m revealing this for the first time. I wanted to intentionally hit Sachin in that test match. I was determined to injure Sachin in that test at all costs.
“Inzamam kept telling that bowl for the wickets, but I wanted to hit Sachin. So I hit him on his helmet and I felt he was done. But when I watched the video, I saw that Sachin had saved his head,” Akhtar said.
Akhtar further stated that while his attempt to exit Tendulkar continued, disgraced Pakistani pacer Mohammad Asif harassed the Indian batters with his clinical display.
“I tried to injure him again. But on the other hand, Indian hitting was confronted with music in the form of Asif.
“I had rarely seen anyone bowl as well as the way Asif bowled on that particular day,” he added.
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It was the same test when Irfan Pathan claimed the famous hat-trick, knocking out Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf in the first over.
India had lost the game by 341 runs, which also cost them the run of three games 1-0. Asif had bowled brilliantly in the match, picking four wickets in the first inning and three in the second.
Tendulkar, on the other hand, was sacked at 23 (29) by Abdul Razzaq in the first inning and was boxed by Asif at 26 (47) in the second.
In previous interviews, Asif had claimed that Tendulkar “closed his eyes” while hanging out with some bouncers from Akthar during the match.
“When the match started, Irfan Pathan claimed a hat-trick in the first on himself. Our morale was down. Kamran Akmal scored a century lower. We scored about 240 runs.
“When we started bowling, Shoaib Akhtar bowled at a fast pace in that match. I stood square to the umpire and saw for myself that Tendulkar closed his eyes as he faced one or two bouncers being bowled by Shoaib. The Indians played on the back foot and we didn’t even let them score 240 in the first innings. We grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat,” Asif had said on the Burgerz show.