‘VVS Laxman didn’t know what to do against Mohammad Asif’: Shoaib Akhtar recalls 2006 Karachi Test
The 2006 Karachi Test between India and Pakistan is primarily remembered among Indian cricket fans for Irfan Pathan’s hat-trick. In the first over itself, Irfan had dismissed Pakistan top-order batsmen, Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, and had given India a memorable start. But despite Irfan’s brilliance, Pakistan managed to bounce back in the first innings, putting together a decent total, and then eventually went on to win the match, and the three-match Test series 1-0.
In the match, India batsman VVS Laxman was seen struggling against Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif. The right-arm pacer had shattered Laxman’s stumps in both the innings. Pakistan pace legend Shoaib Akhtar recalls the encounter and explains why Asif was able to trouble the India middle-order batsman.
Speaking in an ESPNCricinfo videocast, India cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar asked Akhtar: “Did you acquire accuracy from practice or you always had it?”
In reply, Akhtar said: “This is a talent that you are usually born with, either you have bowling sense or not. For example Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Asif. If these two bowlers had gone on to play for a longer period of time, they could bowl all kinds of deliveries.
He, then, went on to talk about the 2006 Karachi Test. “The world has seen me bowl. If you want to see the art of bowling, just observe Mohammad Asif - that is what you call bowling. VVS Laxman was frustrated in Karachi (2006) because he didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t figure out the deliveries that were being bowled to him,” he said.
“Same was the case with AB de Villiers. So the art of bowling is also a talent. There is a lot of bowlers in the world who come in and run in bowl and they are done. You can practise and get accurate with your bowling, but not smartness,” he further said.
Asif had picked 7 wickets in the match, as India were bundled out for 265 in the second innings, while chasing a mammoth total of 607.