Controversy's favourite child Shahid Afridi once gave a bold statement wherein he talked about the on-field rivalry battle between Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar. Tendulkar, who is considered as the best batsman to have ever played the game, during his playing days engaged in many cricketing battles with Akhtar. Former Pakistan pacer was the quickest bowler of his time and used to trouble the batsman with his speed and bounce.
Shahid Afridi recently said that Tendulkar was scared of Akhtar during some of his lethal spells. Afridi claims that Tendulkar will not admit that but alongside him, some of the world’s best also got shaken up when Akhtar was in his prime.
Afridi was asked that whether he still stands by his statement made in 2011 that Tendulkar was scared of facing Akhtar, during a conversation with Zainab Abbas.
“Dekhiye Sachin Tendulkar aapne muh se toh nahi kahega ki main dar raha hu. (Sachin obviously won’t say it himself that ‘I’m scared’) There were some spells from Shoaib Akhtar in which not only Sachin but some of the world’s best also got shaken up.
“When you are fielding at mid-off or covers, you can see it. You can sense the body language of a player. You can easily understand that a batsman is under pressure, he is not at his usual best. I’m not saying that Shoaib has scared Tendulkar always but there have been some spells from Shoaib that have pushed some of the world’s best including Tendulkar on to the backfoot,” Afridi said.
Akhtar also claimed that his autobiography ‘Controversially Yours ’that Sachin was scared to face him. At that time in 2011, Afridi had gone on to back Akhtar and said: “He (Tendulkar) was scared of Shoaib. I have seen it myself. I was fielding at square leg and saw his legs trembling when Shoaib came on to bowl.”
The legendary all-rounder also said that Tendulkar was scared on Saeed Ajmal in 2011 World Cup semifinal.
“During the World Cup, he also looked scared of (young spinner) Saeed Ajmal,” Afridi, who was skipper, said.
However, India beat Pakistan in that match to enter the final of the tournament and Tendulkar was named Man of the Match for his 89-run knock.
“It’s not a big deal, players do feel the pressure at times and it becomes difficult,” added Afridi.