Shoaib Akhtar praises Team India

“I never walked out to him after that”, Robin Uthappa recalls incident involving Shoaib Akhtar 

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Menacing Pakistan quick, Shoaib Akhtar, was involved in a funny incident recalled by Indian batsman Robin Uthappa recently. Uthappa shared a memory from Pakistan’s 2007 tour of India, where he was at the receiving end of an Akhtar warning. 

The incident is from the Guwahati one-dayer of the five-match ODI series played during the Pakistani trip. Uthappa, who arrived to bat late in the Indian run-chase, decided to fight fire with fire as he took his stance to face up against Shoaib Akhtar. He opted to charge down the ground on one of the deliveries to try and hit the much-feared Pakistan fast-bowler over the top. 

And though Uthappa couldn’t exactly do as he intended and managed to only edge the ball back for a fortunate boundary, Akhtar was naturally upset with the Kerala batsman, who dared to charge to the Rawalpindi Express. 

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Shoaib Akhtar

Robin Uthappa recalls incident involving Shoaib Akhtar from 2007 India-Pakistan series

“We went to Gwalior for a match. And we all were having dinner together (after the game). We hung out in someone’s room. Shoaib bhai was there. He came to me and said, ‘Yaar well played!” And then he said, ‘Ek baat yaaro, aj tune mujhe chalke maara hai, yeh chiz phirse karega nah, uske baad kya hoga mujhe bhi nahi pata hai, shayad ek beamer ah jaye tere ser pe’,” Uthappa recalled in a Youtube conversation with stand-up comedian Sourabh Pant. 

With some innate Pakistani humour in-built, Shoaib Akhtar told Uthappa that if he saw him dance down the ground to his bowling again, he’ll have it worse in return and could end up receiving a beamer to his head. 

Uthappa laughed as he reminisced the conversation and said, “I never walked out to him after that. Stayed always on the crease.”

The incident is from that rare four-year period spanning 2004 to 2007 where India visited Pakistan and vice versa in alternate years for bilateral cricket series. The two nations played 12 Tests and 21 ODIs and two T20Is against each other in those four years, including the famous final of the inaugural T20 World Cup. 

Since then, however, outside a short series in 2012, India and Pakistan have faced each other in only multi-team events such as the ODI and T20I World Cups and the Asia Cup due to weakened political relationship.