File pic of Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar.© AFP
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has recalled that he had planned Sachin Tendulkar’s first-ball dismissal during the 1999 Test against India at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Incidentally, Akhtar had bowled Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar off consecutive deliveries during the first Test, which made him an overnight sensation in international cricket. During an interaction on Sportskeeda, Akhtar said that he wasn’t surprised with Tendulkar’s dismissal, saying that he was confident about getting the ‘Master Blaster’ out on the first ball.
“When Sachin was getting ready to take strike, Wasim Akram advised me to bowl reverse swing. He told me to ensure that the ball ends up in line with the stumps after pitching. Initially, I was very anxious about getting him out. But when I started running in, I was completely focused as I wanted to get my run-up completely right – whether it was my jump or my bowling action,” he said.
“The moment Sachin lifted his bat, I knew he was out. His backlift was really high and I knew the ball was reverse-swinging a lot. I wasn’t surprised with the result since I had planned the delivery,” he added.
Akhtar also recalled the scenes inside the stadium after Tendulkar’s dismissal, saying that one lakh fans inside the Eden Gardens were absolutely stunned.
“There was pin drop silence in the ground,” Akhtar stated.
Akhtar also recalled that he had a friendly banter with former teammate Saqlain Mushtaq as to who will get the “God of cricket” out.
“There were 1 lakh people inside the stadium and almost as many waiting outside. I was speaking to Saqlain Mushtaq and I asked him who the crowds were referring to as the ‘God of Cricket’. So, he told me that in India, Tendulkar is considered God. My instant reply was – what if I get him out? He reminded me that he had dismissed Tendulkar in the last two Tests. So, we got into a friendly banter over who would get Sachin out,” he concluded.
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