‘Very rarely have we seen him play that shot’: Mohammad Kaif recalls Sachin Tendulkar’s World Cup six off Shoaib Akhtar
Even 17 years later, the six over point continues to stand as one of the defining memories of India-Pakistan cricketing rivalry.Updated: Aug 14, 2020 14:15 IST
Former batsman Mohammad Kaif recalled Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic six off Shoaib Akhtar during the 2003 World Cup match between India and Pakistan in Centurion. In the second over of India’s innings, Tendulkar went after a short and wide ball from Shoaib, which was timed so well that it flew over the point boundary for six.
Tendulkar followed the six with a superbly-timed flick for a boundary off the next ball and capped the over off with a straight drive down to the boundary. But even 17 years later, the six over point continues to stand as one of the defining memories of India-Pakistan cricketing rivalry.
“The six he hit of Shoaib Akhtar over point and the flick after that to fine-leg for a boundary... that is Sachin’s strength that he never gets LBW, he never missed the ball. That is why he was such a great batsman because the bowler has that weapon to bring the ball in and get the batsman bowled or LBW, that happened to Sachin very few times in his career,” Kaif said on the Watch Along episode of the India vs Pakistan 2003 match on Star Sports.
“The six over point, the iconic shot that is shown again and again, is a shot he never plays. Very rarely have we seen him playing that shot. I have seen him punch the ball or hitting shots on the rise but that upper cut, with his heavy bat playing against a bowler who is bowling at over 150 kph is a very difficult shot.”
Tendulkar scored 98 and went past 12000 ODI runs as India beat Pakistan by six wickets. Kaif revealed another aspect of Tendulkar’s batting, explaining how international cricket’s highest run-getter wouldn’t appreciate being praised while he was batting. Kaif, who batted with Tendulkar and put on a partnership of 102 runs during the World Cup match, said Tendulkar never liked it if someone appreciated his shots while he was batting.
“I was told to just stay there. Sachin didn’t believe in talking too much. When Sachin Paaji is batting, it is like a meditation. He is in his own different zone. So, he doesn’t like talking too much,” Kaif said.
“If someone goes and tells him what a shot he had played, he would ask you to stay quiet and let him bat. He didn’t like it at all if someone goes and tells him how well he was batting and how good the ball was going from his bat or that it was his day. He knows where the gap is and he would know in his mind where the fielders are standing and how to push for that extra run. His planning was at a different level.”