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.

    'When I became an umpire, I didn't realise how complicated this game was'

Peter Willey on suiting up against '80s West Indies, and umpiring in England

    'Saqlain was like an English spinner with a subcontinental touch'

My XI: Erapalli Prasanna on a spinner whom even Sachin Tendulkar found hard to bat against

Anjum on the spot

How well does one of Indian women's cricket's leading lights know her career?

    Last ball, last wicket, and Northants' parched spell

Ask Steven: Also, Vijay Manjrekar's nickname, Abid Ali's no-ball, oldest double-centurions, and this decade's leading players

The thing about Australia's superiority to Pakistan

Ahmer Naqvi: Despite their record, the fact that they haven't played in Pakistan for 16 years weighs against them

News | Features Last 7 days

How India weeds out its suspect actions

The BCCI set up a three-man committee to tackle the problem of chucking at age-group and domestic cricket, and it has produced significant results in five years

A rock, a hard place and the WICB

The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully

Kohli back to old habits

Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala

Twin Asian challenges await Australia

What Australia have not done since returning a fractured unit from India is head back to Asia to play an Asian team. Two of their major weaknesses - handling spin and reverse swing - will be tested in the UAE by Pakistan

West Indies go AWOL

West Indies may have formally played the fourth ODI in Dharamsala but their fielding suggested their minds were already on the flight back home

News | Features Last 7 days