England fast bowler Liam Plunkett has recalled his Test debut when he faced former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar for the first time. The right-arm pacer made his Test debut in 2004 in Lahore. Before his Test debut, Liam Plunkett had shared the dressing room with Akhtar while playing county cricket for Durham.
However, their friendship took the back seat when they were up against each other in Lahore. Shoaib Akhtar was the fastest bowler in the world at that time and he made sure to make Liam Plunkett realise that. “Frightening stuff” was the term used by Liam Plunkett as he recalled his Test debut.
He recalled the fiery spell from Akhtar in an interview with The Broken Trophy podcast. The World Cup-winner said Akhtar was intimidating to face and threatened to kill him when he walked out to bat as a number nine for England.
“In county cricket, I was first-change to Shoaib and Harmy. I was at slip for Harmy and leg-slip for Shoaib. I faced Shoaib Akhtar in my first ever Test match. Because I played with Durham before that, I was marking my run-up before the Test and he just smiled and said ‘I’m gonna kill you’ and laughed,” recalled Liam Plunkett.
“I remember it like it was yesterday because I had my bat, at that time – you think [now] these bats are so thick and stuff – but it was Kashmir willow, it was real thin. And I was sat ready to bat, I was next in, and the TV screen’s right there, so you can see it’s like 96, 97, 96 [miles per hour]. Ashley Giles’ stumps get taken out, and I walk out to a guy who’s bowling 90 miles an hour,” he added.
Akhtar could not dismiss his former Durham teammate but did hit him on his shoulder with a bouncer. Liam Plunkett further said he almost ‘sh** his pants’ after being hit.
“I remember the first one, it looked like I played it well,” he said. “You duck and you turn and you can see it travel to the keeper and the keeper catches it. I got my first medal of honour, he hit me on the shoulder. I pretty much sh** my pants at that point.”
He had gone on to face 51 deliveries on his debut, scoring 9 runs. The England star was trapped lbw by Akhtar in the second innings as the Rawalpindi Express went on to pick up a five-wicket haul to help Pakistan win the Test match by an innings and 100 runs.