No. 33

Shoaib strikes twice

India get hit midships by the Rawalpindi Express

Osman Samiuddin

August 2, 2009

Text size: A | A

Shoaib Akhtar gets Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, India v Pakistan, Asia Test Championship, Kolkata, 17 February, 1999
Shoaib: Love me, love my yorkers © Oxforrd University Press
Enlarge
Related Links
Series/Tournaments: Asian Test Championship
Teams: India | Pakistan
Other links: 50 Magic Moments

Kolkata, 17 February 1999

Session breaks are tricky things to negotiate. Many batsmen, even the best-set, succumb to its distractions. Precisely midway through the second day of the inaugural game of the Asian Test Championship, between Pakistan and India in Kolkata in February 1999, Rahul Dravid and Sadagoppan Ramesh were grinding India into Pakistan's measly first innings 185. At 147 for 2, drinks were taken.

Immediately after, Shoaib Akhtar sprinted in to Dravid, who was then still placing bricks into the wall he eventually became. For nearly two hours and 92 balls, he had stood resolute.

The ball began its 51st over of duty a low full-toss, then ducked suddenly, two-thirds of the way down towards toenails - sensing the bat perhaps - and curved. By the time Dravid slapped his bat down to his feet, it was beyond him and clattering leg stump. Hello, what's this?

In strolled the best batsman in the world, a tsunami of noise with him. A hop and a crouch, a quick scan of fielders, elbow protection nudged and guard taken. Still only one slip in place, and in raced Shoaib. This one was a low full-toss; it dipped and swerved less, but seemed even quicker. As opposed to Dravid, feet rooted in beaten defence, Tendulkar shifted his back foot across to cover an off stump line and on-drove. He was beaten, by pace or swing who knows, but truly beaten, middle stump unluckier than its mates either side. Hello, this was magic.

Shoaib continued, on to his knees, head skywards, arms outstretched like some Jesus Christ Superstar. Did he know this was only the second golden duck of Tendulkar's career? Did he sense that vacancies for the toughest job in Pakistan cricket, as Wasim Akram got older and Waqar Younis less effective, existed? He wasn't yet the most notorious cricketer on the planet, just a monstrously quick bowler - leaner than now, more hair, different action. We'd heard about his speed. Now we saw it. We also peeked at the nose for theatre that was to simultaneously blight and light up his career forever after.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

RSS Feeds: Osman Samiuddin

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

    Shiv's not-outs, and hit-wicket victims

Ask Steven: Also, top-scoring in both innings, most Test dismissals caught, and the oldest Test centurion

    Yorkshire's lucky 13

The heroes of 2001 recount how they won the Championship. The similarities to 2014 are striking. By Alan Gardner

    'All I wanted to do was watch Sobers'

My Favourite Cricketer: Martin Crowe on a cricketer who drew your eye irresistibly

'Chanderpaul was always out to prove himself'

Modern Masters: Playing in a weak team, his single-minded focus is to be the best he can be

Don't shed tears for chuckers

V Ramnarayan: The ICC's decision to take a stricter view of throwing is an important step forward in eliminating the problem of illegal actions

News | Features Last 7 days

Champions League T20 still battling for meaning

The thrills are rather low-octane, the skills are a bit lightweight, and the tournament overly India-centric

Automaton, man, inspiration

Twenty years on, Shivnarine Chanderpaul continues to be understated, underestimated. And that doesn't bother him. What's not to like?

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

85 Tests, 70 defeats

Of the 85 Tests that Bangladesh have played so far, they've lost 70 and won just four. Those stats are easily the worst among all teams when they'd played as many Tests

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

News | Features Last 7 days