Former Pakistan cricketer, Shoaib Akhtar recently recalled the incident when he got Sachin Tendulkar out for the very first time in Test Cricket. The Pakistan speedster has faced Tendulkar on numerous occasions in his career. However, he loved remembering the time when he got Sachin out for the very first time with a searing yorker in 1999.
Sachin Tendulkar was in red-hot form during that series and had hit two centuries coming into that game. Shoaib Akhtar, who was facing him for the very first time, denied him of scoring another big score as he got him out with a beauty of a delivery.
Recalling the occasion, Shoaib said that he had spoken to teammate and Pakistan spin legend Saqlain Mushtaq about Tendulkar. “I remember asking, who is this god of cricket? He says, it’s Sachin Tendulkar. I told Saqlain, what if I dismiss him. He said, I have dismissed him in the last two Test matches and at Eden Gardens, and of course throughout the country, there is a lot of love for Sachin. But there they were very passionate about him. So Saqlain and I were having a bit of an argument about who is going to get Sachin out,” said Shoaib on Sportskeeda.
“(Rahul) Dravid got out and in came Sachin. That is when I realised that the noise level was such that it would burst my ears. It was so loud and it was something I was experiencing for the first time. When there is around one lakh people cheering while Sachin is walking out, people would have thought Shoaib Akhtar is about to be walloped. Saqlain was saying, your time has come, you going to let him go? I said no way I am letting him go,” said Shoaib.
He narrated the entire incident from the point when Sachin Tendulkar stepped on to the field to reach the batting crease. He also mentioned that it was Sachin’s wicket in that game that helped him become a star.
“Sachin was walking in very slow, his walk was not getting over. I turned around went to the start of my run up and turned back and even then he wasn’t ready. He was getting ready and (Pakistan captain) Wasim Akram was telling me Shebby don’t miss the line at all. Make sure that your reverse swing is ending on the wickets and bowl with everything you have got. I was quite anxious about getting him out. I remember quite clearly that I was thinking what to bowl to him. I knew what to bowl but there was so much sound, Wasim bhai was trying to talk to me and I was telling him that I can’t hear him. Then he started talking in gestures and I said, don’t do that he will understand what I am about to do.
“This was the kind of atmosphere and finally Sachin got ready. I started running in and I was completely focused on him. If he moved even a little bit, I would have been able to catch that. The ball went all the way to the crease, I made no mistake in my run-up, jump or action. I released the ball, Sachin lifted his bat and then, gone. He had a very high lift and the ball was reversing a lot. The ball that I bowled, I knew it would hit the stumps. I was not surprised and you would see that. After the almighty, it is probably Sachin who made me a star because of that incident,” said Shoaib.
“The crowd was silenced, you would be hearing only our voices in the broadcast. You will see in the video that Saqlain is celebrating the most with me. He was very happy for me,” he said.