Sachin Tendulkar is considered one of the best batsmen who have ever played a cricket game. He does not have a striking weakness to speed, swing, is equally aggressive, if not more to the spinner. Sachin played against some of the best fast bowlers of his time such as Glenn McGrath, Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar and went out more often than not. But Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif revealed there were times when Sachin fought against Shoaib Akhtar’s speed.
Asif, who has been banned for seven years because of his involvement in improving positions at the Test match in England in 2010, claimed Sachin Tendulkar had ‘closed his eyes’ while pinning several guards from Shoaib during the third Test in Karachi in 2006.
Asif points to the third Test of the three-match series in Karachi where Irfan Pathan became the second Indian to claim the Test hat-trick.
“When the match started, Irfan Pathan claimed the hat-trick first. Our morale is decreasing. Kamran Akmal scored a century lower at the bottom. We scored around 240 runs.
“When we started bowling, Shoaib Akhtar bowed at the express pace of the match. I stood on the square foot near the referee and I myself saw that Tendulkar closed his eyes while facing one or two guards who were tied by Shoaib. Indians play with their back legs and we don’t allow them to score 240 in the first round. We won the victory from the jaw of defeat, “Asif said on the Burgerz program.
Pakistan was dropped out for 245 in the first round. It was the century of Kamran Akmal (113) who helped them post the honorable first inning total. However, they performed with extraordinary bowling performances when they united India into 238.
In the second half, the hosts posted mammoths 599/7, drove an extraordinary century from Faisal Iqbal (139) and then won the match with 341 rounds as they collected India for 265 in the final round.
Asif has taken 7 wickets – 4 in the first round and 3 in the second – in the match.
The right arm pioneer who is still praised as one of the best swing bowlers ever to play for Pakistan also tells how he was somewhat familiar with the Indian beater line-up because of the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. Asif also said their recording from the previous tour in 2004 was also something that was played in his mind.
“If you remember the Indian team that came to Pakistan in 2004, they have a solid composition of players. Dravid scored a lot of runs, Sehwag destroyed us in Multan, “said Asif, who was not part of the series.
Two years later, in 2006, Asif was one of the leaders of Pakistan’s speed attack along with Shoaib Akhtar.
“During the Faisalabad Test, both teams scored 600 runs each. We are a bit worried because the arrangement of their blows is deep, MS Dhoni is hitting on number seven or eight, “Asif recalls.
Pakistan has won the Test series in three 1-0 matches because the first two Tests ended in a draw.
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