'If you do it again, you might get a beamer at your head': When Shoaib Akhtar warned Robin Uthappa for an atrocious shot
- In 2007, Shoaib Akhtar had an episode with Robin Uthappa, as narrated by the India batsman himself, which was rather unforgettable.
Shoaib Akhtar's battles with some of the great batsmen of his generations are memorable. Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Virender Sehwag, Matthew Hayden… the list is endless. Akhtar has had memorable battles with all these players and several more. However, back in the year 2007, Akhtar had an episode with Robin Uthappa, as narrated by the India batsman himself, which was rather unforgettable.
Pakistan had toured India for a three Test and five-match ODI series. After India wrapped up the Test series 1-0, the action moved to the 50-overs format. The first match of the series was played at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati where India beat Pakistan by five wickets, with Uthappa hitting the winning runs. The batsman had worked on a stroke called the 'walkout shot' in his arsenal, where in he would often step out of the crease and walk towards the bowler before the ball was bowled. That evening, Uthappa decided to walk out to Akhtar, who was clocking the ball at over 150 clicks.
"I'll share one story about Shoaib Akhtar. We were playing a game in Guwahati. And since it's in the east of India, it gets dark there early. Back then, we did not have two new balls. After 34 overs, we used to get a ball which used to be 24 overs old but slightly better. Shoaib was bowling and Irfan and I were batting. I think we needed 12 to win off 25 balls or something like that," Uthappa told stand-up comedian Sorabh Pant on his YouTube channel 'Wake Up With Sorabh'.
"I remember he bowled a yorker to me. I missed it from the arm and only saw it coming straight into the blockhole. I stopped the ball dead there. That was 154 something clicks. Next ball was a low full toss and I hit the ball for four. So after that, we needed 3 or 4 runs to win and I told myself, 'Man, I have to walk out to Shoaib Akhtar and hit him. How many times will I get that opportunity.' He bowled a length ball and I did it; it took the edge and it went for four. We won the match."
Pakistan won the next game in Mohali before India took the lead again in the third ODI in Kanpur. Uthappa recalled how ahead of the fourth game of the series, players from both teams were having dinner together, and that is when he was confronted by Akhtar for what had happened three matches ago.
"We went to Gwalior for the next game and I remember we all were having dinner together. I think we hung out at someone's room and having a mean. Shoaib bhai was there as well. He came to me and said 'Robin… well played. Good game'. And then he said 'One more thing… you walked out and hit me today. If you do that again, even I don't know what will happen… you might get a beamer directed at your head.' After that, I didn't even dare walk out to him," Uthappa recalled.