Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has named the Indian batsman who played against him easily. More often than not, Shoaib Akhtar usually boasts of his track record against India and stating that bowling to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar was not a big deal for him. So it’s safe to assume that he did not name Tendulkar as his toughest Indian opponent.
During his career, the former tearaway pacer faced some of India’s greatest batsmen like Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni among others. But the batsman who troubled him the most was none other than the legendary Rahul Dravid.
He revealed how the Pakistan players used to plan for someone like Dravid and then went on to narrate an interesting anecdote involving the former India captain.
“If a batsman used to play, like Rahul Dravid, we would bowl him length balls. From close to the stump we would aim at the gap between bat and pad, try to hit the ball on the pad,” Shoaib Akhtar said in a chat with Aakash Chopra on his YouTube channel.
He further narrated the story regarding Dravid. Recalling the incident, Shoaib Akhtar revealed how he and his former teammate Shahid Afridi made a plan to get The Wall out. Shoaib Akhtar did not mention the exact game but by his description, the former pacer seems to be pointing towards the final of the Pepsi Cup in the year 1999 that involved Sri Lanka as the third team.
“There was a final match in Bangalore, I had dismissed Sadagoppan Ramesh early, we took 3-4 wickets early. Sachin Tendulkar was not playing. Shahid Afridi and I said Rahul Dravid will take a lot of time and it’s Friday night today. Afridi said bowl something and take his wicket else he will play for long,” Shoaib Akhtar recalled.
“I hit him directly on the pad and urged the umpire to raise his fingers. I even said it’s our Friday night. He did not give the decision in our favour but we had won in the end. Dravid was a difficult and determined batsman. It was difficult for me as well as him. He would play against me easily,” he added.
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