I successfully sledged Sachin: Aaqib
Former Pakistan fast bowler Aaqib Javed says he used to successfully sledge Sachin Tendulkar in the late 1990s, making the maestro cautious while batting.
"There was always a tussle with Sachin as he was the best batsman in the Indian team. The tougher the match, the more I enjoyed it," Aaqib said.
"And when Tendulkar used to bat against me, the competition level used to go up. I used to focus more and tried to put him under pressure, including sledging and body impressions," said the bowler-turned-coach.
Aaqib, 33, remembers his duels with Tendulkar in Sharjah and Toronto where India and Pakistan contested the Sahara Cup annually in the 90s.
He recalled an incident in Toronto when an apparently disgusted Tendulkar asked him to stop mouthing words aimed at him.
"It happened in 1997 or 1998. I was bowling to him and words were being exchanged, though I must say Tendulkar used to speak less than me," he said.
"When it became too much, he said 'Aaqib, stop it for god's sake. I am fed up with this (sledging).' I said 'Ok, go and play your game'."
Then, one day, a spectator called Inzamam-ul-Haq "aaloo, aaloo!" (potato), a comment on his physique. An enraged Inzamam tried to hit him with a bat and the issue eventually reached a Canada court.
The spectator refused to withdraw the case. When the Pakistani players learnt that the spectator was a Tendulkar fan, they urged the Indian to request the spectator to withdraw the case.
"(Sachin) persuaded him (spectator) to take back the case. That day I shook hands with him and told him that I would not say anything to him," recalled Aaqib.
"And I did not say a word to him because I quit cricket six months after that incident."
Aaqib, however, said that if he had continued to play, he might have sledged Tendulkar again.
"It is possible that if I had continued to play, he could have hit me for a few fours, and I could have shown aggression again. But I stuck to my decision not to play (international matches) again," said Aaqib, who played his last match in November 1998.
Was Tendulkar affected by his sledging? Aaqib said he was.
"When I used to sledge him he used to become defensive and extra careful while batting. He waited for my overs to finish," he said.
"And in one-day internationals, if a player like Sachin played three-four overs defensively, it meant that you have gained (from sledging by not conceding many runs)."
The under rated Aaqib, who partnered the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, took 54 wickets in 22 Tests and 182 scalps in 163 one-day internationals between 1988 and 1998.
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