Legendary Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram on Saturday recalled how he had planned to deny veteran Indian spinner Anil Kumble a record ten-wicket haul at that 1999 Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi. The leggie had become the first and remains the only Indian bowler to achieve the feat and only second overall after England’s Jim Laker in 1956 Test against Australia.
Pakistan were chasing a near-impossible 420 in the second innings in a bid to take a 2-0 lead in the series. And the opening combination of Shahid Afridi and Saed Anwar kept the visitors at a comfortable position with a century stand before Kumble cast his spell. He first removed Afridi for 41, Ijaz Ahmed for a duck and Inzamam-ul-Haq a few overs later to expose the middle-order lineup.
With the fall of the next six wickets, Pakistan stood at 198 with Akram and Waqar Younis at the crease. It was then that Akram brought of the notion of not getting out to Kumble in a bid to deny him the record feat.
“No. This is against sportsman’s spirit (desperately getting out to another bowler). I said to Waqar Younis that you play normal cricket, I will not get out to Anil Kumble. As a captain, I told Waqar to play his normal game and go for shots against (Javagal) Srinath. The first ball Kumble bowled… inside edge… and I got caught. It was a big day for India and Kumble. It was massive,” Akram told Aakash Chopra in a Youtube video.
Akram did look to provide some resistance with his gritty 66-ball 37 but eventually failed to hold one end for long as India won by 212 runs to level the series. And Kumble finished with figures of 10 for 74.