Former pioneering left arm Wasim Akram, who was the captain of Pakistan during their historic tour in India in 1999, recalling the pulsating Chennai Test match, revealed how he and Saqlain Mushtaq decided to take a risk against Sachin Tendulkar who was in good condition which paid off.
136 Tendulkar remains one of his best punches, but also a devastating blow because he cannot take over India. Against seizures, Tendulkar, with India 17 away from victory, narrowly ahead of Saqlain’s bowling and caught by Akram himself. 21 years after the epic test at the Chepauk stadium, the former Pakistan captain weighed the match, offering his insight.
“I remember the test match like yesterday. India and Pakistan are known to play close matches. I remember the Test match in 1987 in Bangalore when Sunil Gavaskar scored a 90-odd and then this Chennai Test. It was a very close Test match, until the last day. I think India needs 20 odd steps, and a partnership between Mongia and Sachin is developing. Sachin reads Saqlain very bloodily, and realized when he praised doosra, “Akram told Aakash Chopra in a video chat.
Needing 271 to win, India were reduced to 82/5 when Tendulkar and Nayan Mongia came together to add 136 managed partnerships for the sixth goal. Akram, who broke the stands by robbing Mongia for rapid fire, believes it was a time when he believed Pakistan had the chance to resolve the problem and show the message to its players.
“If Mongia were playing together, the results would have been different. But when he went skiing and came out, I told the players it was time. Sachin fought against seizures so the opportunity was there, “the former bowler added.
With Tendulkar still holding the fort, Saqlain went to his captain to ask for advice, and that’s when Akram asked Saqlain to provide a risk delivery.
“When Sachin left, all the fillers were on the border. Only I am in the additional shelter. I told Saqlain to make a flying doosra bowl, knowing the risk might even be six. Knowing that Sachin was going to hit the middle goal, Saqlain bowled full in the middle and legs. “He left after that and the ball tipped over for me,” Akram said.
It turned out that Pakistan won the Test match with 12 runs as the Indian tail failed to collect the remaining runs.
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