Ashish Nehra has claimed that in the 2003 series against Pakistan, Lakshmipathy Balaji was more famous in Pakistan than the great Imran Khan. Nehra also recalled the series where Balaji was hitting sixes left right centre, despite the presence of superstars such as Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.
Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra has claimed that the Tamil Nadu pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji was more famous than legendary Pakistani all-rounder and former captain Imran Khan, during the 2003 bilateral series between the two sides. Despite being over 17 years since the series took place, the left-arm seamer recalls every moment of the series, including Balaji’s massive sixes. Following that tour, the Tamil Nadu pacer became an overnight cult hero, with some even calling him the next Kapil Dev, following his exploits.
“In the dressing room, Irfan can give you more stories, the only thing I remember is Laxmipathy Balaji on that particular tour. Maybe that time he was more popular than Imran Khan,” said Nehra in Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected, reported HT.
In the 30 ODIs Balaji played, he scored 120 runs, including a high-score of 21*. With the ball, the right-arm seamer picked up 34 wickets, including a 4-fer. Nehra also recalled that despite so many moments from the series, it is Balaji’s batting prowess which he fondly remembers.
“Those six weeks he was hitting sixes left right and centre there was no doubt about it. Virender Sehwag triple hundred, Rahul Dravid double hundred, Irfan Pathan performance, all that is there but to me off the field, Pakistan, the nation as a whole and Laximathy Balaji in the dressing room,” added Nehra.