Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has claimed that Shoaib Akhtar got Sachin Tendulkar scared on a few occasions during his career and the Indian great wasn’t the only batsman to find it difficult to face the Pakistan pacer.
Akhtar truly announced himself on the international stage in 1999 when he got the wickets of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar on back-to-back deliveries with yorkers at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Tendulkar and the Indian cricket team after struggling against Akhtar initially later played him much better, but Afridi has revealed that he could sense Tendulkar was scared to face Akhtar at times.
“Sachin obviously won’t say it himself that ‘I’m scared’. There were some spells from Shoaib Akhtar in which not only Sachin but some of the world”s best also got shaken up,” Afridi told sports presenter Zainab Abbas on YouTube chat show.
“When you are fielding at mid-off or covers, you can see it. You can sense the body language of a player. You can easily understand that a batsman is under pressure, he is not at his usual best,” he added.
“I’m not saying that Shoaib has scared Tendulkar always but there have been some spells from Shoaib that have pushed some of the world’s best onto the back foot,” he continued.
However, numbers suggest that Tendulkar had the better of Akhtar, especially in the latter half of his career. The Indian batsman has scored 416 runs against Akhtar at an average of 41.60. In ODIs, he averaged over 45 against Akhtar who has dismissed him five times in 19 matches. In Tests, Akhtar got Tendulkar out only three times in nine matches.
Tendulkar’s best innings against Akhtar certainly came in the 2003 ICC World Cup match against Pakistan when the Indian batsman scored 98 runs.
Tendulkar dominated Akhtar on the day as India eased to a target of 274 with over four overs to spare.
Watch the full chat show here: