The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry is abound with several interesting tales. Whenever the two teams face off, the focus and scrutiny are intense. With champion cricketers in both the sides, the competitive nature of the matches between the two sides is there for all to see. Shoaib Akhtar is one such cricketer who has been a great performer in India-Pakistan matches. His speed terrified batters around the world and it bamboozled India in a Test match in Kolkata in February, 1999.
Though Akhtar made his Test debut in November, 1997, it was not until February, 1999 that he faced India for the first time. At the Eden Gardens, he made an instant impact as he scalped four wickets in both the innings to help Pakistan win the game by 46 runs. His scalps included those of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid among others.
Talking about the match, Akhtar revealed the message that he received from the team management ahead of the match.
“It was Saleem Malik who told me that I will play in the Kolkata Test. He told me that the wicket was going to be fast and that I would play. I was always trying to target the head and the ribs of a batter. The first meeting that happened, what was being discussed was that ‘Shoaib tujhe marna kaise hai logo ko.’ I asked, ‘Should I not get them out?’ I was told, ‘No, you have good pace, aapne bas logo ko marna hai. Getting people out is our job.’ I told Sourav later that our plan was not to get you out but to hit you on the ribs,” Akhtar said in a video posted by Star Sports.
A ‘frenemies’ bond that will be remembered in the history as a classic!
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) August 18, 2022
Akhtar played 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is for Pakistan, scalping 178, 247 and 19 wickets, respectively.
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