There is no doubt that the India–Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. And these kinds of competitiveness has also produced some of the most memorable duels in cricket. The battle between Pakistani bowlers and Indian batsmen is something fans are mostly fond of. Especially, between India legend Sachin Tendulkar and former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar.
Tendulkar, who is hailed as one of the best batsmen of all-time, has faced numerous world-class bowlers during his cricketing days. To name few, the Mumbaikar has played against the likes of Glenn McGrath, Alan Donald, Shane Warne, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Muthiah Muralitharan etc. However, Tendulkar’s clashes with Akhtar have always gathered maximum attention.
Recently, in an interview, Akhtar has recalled those golden days and said that he had a lot of respect for the India batsman. While speaking in an ESPNCricinfo videocast with former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, Akhtar revealed: “A couple of batsmen would never speak to me. Sachin would never lose his focus by talking to me.”
“People used to say that Sachin and I used to compete against each other, but we never abused each other. I used to respect him as a great batsman, and I used to look at him as a great competitor,” said Akhtar.
Akhtar also reminisced the 2006 Test in Faisalabad where he troubled the ‘Master Blaster’. Akhtar said that he used to find ways through which he could tackle the threat posed by Tendulkar. While remembering the Test match, Akhtar stated that he knew that Tendulkar was struggling with an elbow injury, so I decided to launch a barrage of bouncers at him.
“But I used to work him out. I used to know where Sachin was injured. In Faisalabad (2006) Test, I knew he had an elbow injury, and I knew he couldn’t hook or pull the ball, so I kept bowling bouncers at him,” the Rawalpindi Express added.
The former Pakistani pacer articulated that people remember Test spells between him and Tendulkar. He said the younger cricketers should also focus on playing the longest format.
“Nowadays, players are finding reasons to slow down to play longer; I don’t know why. People only remember Test matches spells. No matter how many wickets you have taken in T20Is and I might have done wonders in ODIs, people will only remember the spells from the Test matches,” Akhtar added further.
“There is a battle between Sachin and me in a Test match. Here you go, he’s gonna hit me for a six or I am going to get him clean-bowled. Whatever it is, I am going to come back with a lot of character… these are spells that people like to see,” concluded the 44-year-old.