India and Pakistan have often had historic on-field battles. Players from both sides have been aware of the political tensions surrounding both nations. This chaos has more often than not showed on the field. Especially in the 80s and 90s, India-Pakistan matches carried surreal tension. There was a lot of pressure on both countries. They were allowed to lose against any opposition but to each other, lets see some of the moments when Indian players replied to Pakistani players.
Pakistan dominated the 20th century while India have been the stronger force this century. But one thing that has remained constant is India’s dominance in World Cup across formats. This has resulted in some bitter player battles. Indian players have had the last laugh on most occasions. They have given befitting replies to their Pakistani counterparts.
We look at 5 such instances where Indian players perfectly replied to Pakistani players:
#5 Sachin Tendulkar vs Abdul Qadir
A 16-year old Sachin Tendulkar was selected to play for India in the tour to Pakistan. India and Pakistan were playing an exhibition match. Tendulkar got a chance to play for the country. He soon launched into young Pakistani bowlers. Looking at this, veteran spinner Abdul Qadir quipped, “Why are you hitting the young kids, hit me if possible”. Tendulkar reserved his answer. He waited till Qadir came on to bowl. Tendulkar launched onto Qadir and smashed him for 4 sixes in an over. Imran Khan, the then Pakistan captain told Qadir, this boy is going to play for more than 15 years!
#4 Virender Sehwag vs Shoaib Akhtar
Virender Sehwag was in the form of his life during India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004. Sehwag was tearing apart the Pakistani attack. Akhtar who was running in hard tried bowling bouncers to Sehwag. He challenged Sehwag to hook him for four. Sehwag didn’t pay heed. Akhtar kept persisting and again came up to his ears asking him to hook. Sehwag finally retorted are you bowling or begging. He went on to smash a triple century. It was the first triple century scored by an Indian.
#3 MS Dhoni vs Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar arguably remains the fastest bowler in cricket history. He was clocking speeds of 95 miles per hour against Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a Test match in 2006. Akhtar smashed a bouncer on Dhoni’s helmet. He went on to sledge Dhoni saying wasn’t he able to see the ball. Dhoni responded in stunning fashion smashing the next ball for a boundary. He later went on to score his first-ever Test century. Dhoni thereby owned the battle against Akhtar.
#2 Venkatesh Prasad vs Aamir Sohail
Aamir Sohail was on the offensive against India at Bangalore in the 1996 World Cup quarter-finals. He smashed a Venkatesh Prasad delivery towards cover. Sohail then went on to point a finger at Prasad saying he will smash even the next ball in the same direction. Prasad chose not to respond. But when he did, the whole stadium erupted. Prasad clean bowled Sohail the very next delivery and animatedly pointed towards the dressing room. It was a watershed moment in the India-Pakistan rivalry.
#1 Harbhajan Singh vs Shoaib Akhtar
India were chasing a stiff target of 270 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. Kamran Akmal and Gautam Gambhir were engaged in a heated battle. There was tension all around. India looked in command only to lose the initiative soon after. They lost a flurry of wickets giving Pakistan the upper hand. Suresh Raina was India’s last recognized batsman.
Harbhajan Singh partnered Raina in the run chase. At the end of the 49th over, words were exchanged between Akhtar and Singh. Singh had failed to put bat to ball to Akhtar’s short pitch stuff. This fired up Singh. He was waiting to turn the tables. India lost Raina at a crucial juncture. It was now up to Singh to do the heavy lifting. Singh proved that he is the king as he smashed a six off Mohammad Amir to help India win a great game. He roared in joy looking at Akhtar who had nothing to say then.