Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan shared a memorable stand with Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the latter smashed 148 against Pakistan in the second Test at Faisalabad in 2006.
During the 210-run partnership, Dhoni and Pathan had to combat Shoaib Akhtar who was starting to reverse the ball. India were in trouble after the departure of Sachin Tendulkar in reply to Pakistan’s first innings score of 588.
Pathan has revealed how he and Dhoni got under Akhtar’s skin and saw off the pacer’s spell without any damage.
“I faced Akhtar’s first ball and it was a bouncer and I couldn’t even see the ball. Somehow we tried to negate his spell. We tried building a partnership and after sometime, Akhtar returned for another spell,” Pathan told journalist Vikrant Gupta on Sports Tak – an Instagram Live show.
“Akhtar was sledging. I told Dhoni ‘I will sledge Akhtar and you just laugh at him’ and Dhoni agreed to it. Akhtar continued sledging us and the ball started to reverse,” he said.
“I then sledged Akhtar saying ‘will you be able to bowl with the same intensity in the next spell?’. Akhtar responded angrily by saying ‘you talk too much’. He somehow completed that spell and that was how we drew that Test,” he added.
Pathan revealed how he deliberately engaged in a conversation that infuriated Akhtar.
“We wanted to take the reverse swing out of the game. If a bowler bowls short, the impact of reverse swing is lost. So I told him that this pitch is flat and he would have to bowl much quicker to get him out. Akhtar was angry and continued with his barrage of bouncers,” Pathan said.
“He bowled for four overs and was finished. After that, it became a lot easier for us and we were able to stitch together a partnership,” Pathan added.
Thanks to the partnership, India went past Pakistan’s total in the first innings. But the hosts gave a strong reply in their second innings with 490 runs. The game ended in a draw and the partnership between Pathan and Dhoni proved to be vital.
Watch the full episode of Sports Tak with Irfan Pathan: