‘It was like a slap’: Venkatesh Prasad reveals new details regarding sledging incident with Aamer Sohail
During the 1996 World Cup, Sohail had crashed Prasad for a boundary through covers and pointed his fingers at the bowler. However, what happened on the next ball is remembered as one of the greatest comebacks of all time with Prasad knocking over Sohail’s off stump.Updated: Jul 15, 2020 06:49 IST
Venkatesh Prasad’s famous send-off to Aamer Sohail remains one of the most talked-about moments in the history of India-Pakistan cricket. During the 1996 World Cup, Sohail had crashed Prasad for a boundary through covers and pointed his fingers at the bowler, almost mocking him to go and fetch the ball from the boundary. However, what happened on the next ball is remembered as one of the greatest comebacks of all time with Prasad knocking over Sohail’s off stump.
24 years later, Prasad recalled the incident, explaining what led to those memorable couple of deliveries. Chasing 288 to win, Pakistan had gotten off to a strong start putting 84 runs for the first wicket and the former India fast bowler revealed what spurred him after Sohail cracked a boundary off him.
“It was actually sort of a slap (via the off-side), he came down the track and hit the ball towards the point and extra-cover region. I didn’t expect that coming. It was a high-pressure game, with 35,000 people in the stadium,” Prasad told R Ashwin on his YouTube show, DRS with Ash.
“Before the incident happened, I was at the boundary line. They were smashing us. It looked like the match would get over in 45 overs. I was watching the crowd, standing at fine-leg. I could see everybody was on the edge of their seats. They couldn’t believe what was happening. That’s how the situation was.
“He came down the track and gave himself a bit of room and hit me for a boundary, he showed his bat and showed his fingers towards the place where he hit the bat. We were quite close, I had completed my follow-through, he said ‘I am going to hit you there the next ball’. I just heard him say that, I just used a couple of words and went back. There was a lot going through.
A YouTube video of the incident has received over a million views. After Anwar was dismissed for 48, Sohail was expected to bat on but he clearly had a rush of adrenaline and his off stump went crashing the next ball.
Pakistan’s middle order couldn’t do much, and even though Saleem Malik and Javed Miandad (playing his last tournament) tried, their low strike-rate did not help Pakistan’s cause. Besides, Prasad and Kumble picked up three wickets each to dent Pakistan’s chase and India won the match by 39 runs to advance to the semifinal.
“As such, they were smashing us and no one could believe what was happening. I, for some reason, though I was not as quick as Srinath, I would never want a batsman to dominate me. It’s been my character. The moment someone dominates me, irrespective of who it is, I would like to give it back,” Prasad said.
“At the same time, you have got to keep your cool, make sure you’re in the game, make sure you’re able to think well and execute well. A lot of thoughts were crossing my mind when I was going back. I had to make a decision. Then I said ‘this is what I have practiced all my life.
“Bowl in the corridor, don’t give width to the batsman and bowl stump to stump’. And I just backed myself, kept my cool of course, didn’t really go back to what happened in the previous ball or what’s going to happen the next ball.”