Shoaib Akhtar recalls an unusual team meeting before the Indo-Pak clash. “I told Ganguly later that our plan was to hit you in the ribs and not get you out. ” Akhtar explain.
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and former Pakistan Express pacer Shoaib Akhtar were fierce rivals on the field, but they now have a good off-field relationship. Both prominent players in the game engaged in several fierce battles on the field over the years, but their first meeting may still be one of the most dangerous moments in the left-handed batter’s career.
To recall, during an India vs. Pakistan match in Mohali in 1999, Ganguly was hit on the ribs and had to be taken off the field. After being hit by a sharp short-length delivery bowled by Akhtar. Meanwhile, the former Pakistan pacer has revealed that a team meeting was held prior to the match. During which Akhtar was clearly instructed to target the Indian batters with short-pitched deliveries and bowl at their bodies.
Indo-Pak clash: ‘You have a lot of speed, just try to hit the batters,’ Shoaib Akhtar says of the team’s strategy.
“I was always trying to target the head and ribs of a batsman. ” Akhtar told Virender Sehwag on Star Sports’ ‘Frenemies.’ We’d decided to go after Ganguly’s ribs. In fact, it was decided during our meeting where we discussed how I will attempt to hit batters. “Do I not dismiss them?” I inquired. ‘No,’ they said. You have a fast pace. Just try to hit the batters, and we’ll take care of the rest.”
“I’m sure Ganguly will be listening to this interview,” Sehwag responded. Akhtar then informed Sehwag that he had already mentioned this to Ganguly. “I later told Ganguly that our plan was to hit you in the ribs and not get you out,” he explained.
Despite being fierce rivals on the field, Akhtar and Ganguly have maintained cordial relations. Akhtar also represented the two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the first edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) under Ganguly’s captaincy (KKR). The former Pakistan pacer also lauded Ganguly’s batting abilities and leadership qualities in leading Indian cricket to new heights.