‘Before you play the pull, you should know who you’re facing’: When Shoaib Akhtar sledged Ashish Nehra in Punjabi
During the 2004 Champions Trophy match between India and Pakistan, Ashish Nehra was the last man out, off the last ball of the innings to a short ball from Shoaib Akhtar.Updated: Aug 10, 2020 21:57 IST
The rivalry shared between India and Pakistan is filled with legendary tales and adding to the list is former left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra, who has revealed one such incident where Shoaib Akhtar had some words to say to him.
The incident took place during the 2004 Champions Trophy match between India and Pakistan in Birmingham, and India, batting first struggled to put runs on the board. Rahul Dravid’s half-century and a fighting 47 from Ajit Agarkar helped India put 200 runs on the board with Nehra being the last man out, off the final ball of the innings to a short ball from Akhtar.
“In 2004 we were playing Champions Trophy game in Birmingham. India batted first and we scored some 200 runs,” Nehra said on Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry podcast. “We lost that game in the end. I was the last guy out and Shoaib Akhtar bowled one short ball. I tried to pull it and got out caught at midwicket. Shahid Afridi took the catch and then he’s telling me in Punjabi ‘before you pull, you should know who you’re facing.”
Pakistan narrowly won the match in the last over of the innings by three wickets. Irfan Pathan got India off to a dream start, reducing Pakistan to 27/3 and dismissing their top three batsmen. But a Man-of-the-Match worthy 87 from Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-Ul-Haq’s contribution of 41 steadied the team and saw them through.
Nehra, however, clarified that it was all in good spirits and that he and some of the Pakistan players, including Akhtar continue to share a good friendship. “Shoaib Akhtar is a great friend, no doubt about it. Whenever we’re in England and even till today. After 3-4 months, we message each other and a banter is going on,” Nehra said.