Aamir Sohail, Venkatesh Prasad
Aamir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad [Image-Screengrab]

Former Pakistan swashbuckler Aamir Sohail believes that his iconic tussle with Indian pacer Venkatesh Prasad during the 1996 World Cup quarter-final was needlessly blown out of proportion.

The fiery duel between Aamir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad has impinged itself as one of the most iconic moments in the history of India-Pakistan cricket.

It all happened during the 15th over of Pakistan’s run-chase when a rampaging Aamir Sohail danced down the track and hammered Venkatesh Prasad for a boundary past the cover region.

Aamir Sohail, Venkatesh Prasad
Aamir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad [Image-Getty]
Sohail wasn’t done yet as he pointed his bat and finger towards Venkatesh Prasad as if to say that he will hit the pacer at the exact same place on the following delivery.

Prasad, however, chose to reply with his actions as he got rid of Aamir Sohail on the very next delivery after the ball nipped back in to destroy the opener’s stumps.

Reliving the incident during a Youtube chat on Cricket Life Stories, Aamir Sohail said that there was no exchange of words between him and Venkatesh Pradesh and his gesture towards the latter was his attempt to get into the skin of the bowler, something that he had learned from Javed Miandad.

“There was no argument. There was nothing said. People interpret it differently. They have to say something to prove that they understand the game well. There was no word exchanged. Javed Miandad told us how to rile up the bowler when you think that he is going to take charge. It was reverse psychology,” said Aamir Sohail.

Aamir Sohail further revealed that following the dismissal of his partner Saeed Anwar, the scoring rate had dipped and with India having three spinners on a pitch that was likely to deteriorate, his plan was to attack the pacers and bring the asking rate below the 6-run mark.

“Saeed (Anwar) aI me were going great guns. He got out and we just got bogged down. And I thought India is taking charge. Just to unsettle the bowler (I tried provoking). There were so many other things – India had three spinners, and we knew the pitch was going to deteriorate and one over was deducted already. We were chasing 288 in 49 overs,” Aamir Sohail continued.

The left-handed opener added that his ‘simple gesture’ to Prasad was misconstrued in so many different ways.

”When I realized that the bowlers were settling in, I tried to provoke the bowler (Venkatesh Prasad) to move him away from his dangerous length. To break his focus, I pointed out something, and people thought so many things like I lost my temper, the bowler had some things to say. It was a good delivery he bowled. I was hoping that it would be a short-pitched delivery and I should be able to hit it out of the ground. It wasn’t the case. But the thing is, it was blown out of proportion. A simple gesture was misconstrued in so many different ways.” he added.

Sohail’s wicket turned out to be the turning point as Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals to eventually finish at 9/248 in 49 overs; 39 runs adrift of India’s total of 287.

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Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.