Shoaib Akhtar has revealed a bizarre talk that he had during Pakistan’s team meeting ahead of their India clash in 1999 which was played in Mohali. Akhtar recalled his team management had told him to target Indian batters' bodies, particularly Sourav Ganguly’s ribs, considering his extreme pace.
Much-anticipated India versus Pakistan fixture will be played on August 28 during the forthcoming Asia Cup campaign in Dubai. There had been plenty of nail-biting contests in the past between the arch-rivals but unfortunately, due to political reasons, the two teams have stopped playing bilateral series. However, their players, past and present, still have plenty of friendly chats whenever they get an opportunity on public platforms.
Such a conversation took place between Virender Sehwag and Shoaib Akhtar in a video shared by Star Sports on their YouTube channel titled, 'Frenemies'. During the chat, Akhtar recalled a pep talk that he had during Pakistan's team meeting ahead of their match against India in 1999 which took place in Mohali. Akhtar revealed he was told to target Sourav Ganguly's ribs while the other had planned to take wickets.
“We had decided to target Ganguly on his ribs. In our team meeting, it was discussed how I will try to hit batters. I had asked then, 'Do I not dismiss them?’ but they said, ‘No. You have a lot of paces. You just try to hit the batters and we will take care of the wickets,” Akhtar revealed in a video shared by Star Sports on their YouTube channel titled, 'Frenemies'.
However, Akhtar earlier mentioned that Ganguly was never afraid of extreme pace like many had proclaimed in the past/ In fact, Akhtar, keeping their rivalry in mind, labeled Ganguly as 'the bravest batsman I ever bowled to.'
“People used to say that he was scared to face fast bowling, he was afraid to face me. I think all of that was rubbish. Sourav Ganguly was the bravest batsman I ever bowled to, the only opener who could face me with the new ball,” Akhtar had said in an interview in 2020.