Pakistan wicket-keeper-batsman Kamran Akmal has mentioned that it was unbelievable that they could win the Karachi Test match against India, after having been reduced to a score of 39 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. The gritty batsman had scored a fighting century to take Pakistan out of the precarious situation.
Kamran Akmal shared memories of his exploits against India in the latest edition of the YouTube show Cric Cast.
Kamran Akmal was first asked about his maiden Test century against India at Mohali, a knock that had helped Pakistan to draw the Test match after having their backs against the wall.
He responded by saying that he gained a lot from the support he received from the senior players like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, apart from the confidence he got after scoring an ODI century in Australia on the previous tour.
"I got a lot of benefit from the players I played with - Inzi bhai, who was also our captain, we had Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. We also had all-rounders like Shahid Afridi and Razzaq bhai in the team, even Shoaib Malik."
"The confidence I got after becoming the first Pakistan wicketkeeper to score an ODI century in the previous tour to Australia helped me a lot. The full credit needs to go to Bob Woolmer, who was our coach and Inzi bhai."
Kamran Akmal gave a lot of credit to Abdul Razzaq with whom he had strung together a 184-run partnership for the 7th wicket to save the Test match.
"That helped me in India. We saved an almost lost Test match against India, we were able to draw it. I had a partnership with Razzaq bhai. I would say whatever credit I get, the same should go to Razzaq bhai."
Kamran Akmal highlighted that the knock was even more memorable as it came in trying circumstances, with the crowd backing the home team and the media having virtually written them off.
"It was a great experience, the first Test match against India and in India. In Mohali, people love you a lot but once they come to the ground they are with their team."
"When the fourth day had ended, the media was saying that India would win the match by lunch time the next morning. So, our attempt was to save the match and we had the confidence."
Kamran Akmal was even more elated that the ton had come against a potent Indian attack comprising Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan and Lakshmipathy Balaji, Pakistan's wreckers-in-chief in India's last tour of their northern neighbours.
"I was playing my natural game and Razzaq bhai had kept the other end safe. Because of that we were able to draw the Test match and I scored my first century."
"When I think now, I feel very happy that I had performed when the Indian team was at its peak and even we are like that. They had bowlers like Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan and Balaji who had come to Pakistan and dismissed our whole team."
Kamran Akmal also recalled that the drawn Test match eventually helped Pakistan in squaring the series against India.
"It was great that we were able to draw the Test match against that Indian bowling. We went on to draw the series as well, that was the advantage of playing out a draw in the first Test match."
Kamran Akmal on his century against India at Karachi
Kamran Akmal was further asked about his century against India in the Karachi Test of 2006, a knock that was picked by Wisden as the best innings of the decade by a wicket-keeper-batsman.
He spoke about how he was feeling while going out to bat with Pakistan precariously placed at 39 for the loss of 6 wickets, and said that his mind was blank and that Inzamam-ul-Haq had instilled the confidence in him to play his natural game.
"Honestly speaking, nothing was going on in my mind. I was still new in the team and did not have that much pressure."
"Inzi bhai was sitting out that match, he had a back injury. I was sitting with him in the dressing room and he was very concerned in the dressing room regarding what was happening."
"He just told me to play my natural game like the way I had played against India in India and the manner in which I had got the hundred in Australia. He told that whatever happens, will not be worse than the situation at that time."
Kamran Akmal remembered the exquisite cut shot he played against RP Singh soon after he arrived at the crease, a stroke that gave him immense confidence.
"As soon as I went in, I cut RP Singh for a boundary through point which gave me a lot of heart. When it is 39/6 and you play a shot like that, it gives you lot of confidence. I strung small partnerships with the tail."
Kamran Akmal also talked about the valuable partnerships he stitched with the lower-order batsmen, with handsome contributions coming from Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar.
"First with Razzaq bhai, who scored 40-odd runs again there. Shoaib bhai also got 40-odd runs. With the help of those small partnerships, we ended up scoring more than 240."
Kamran Akmal mentioned that it was unbelievable that they could win the Test match after having been reduced to a score of 39 runs for 6 wickets in the first innings, and credited the bowlers for their efforts.
"Even now when I think, it is unbelievable that we won the Test match after being 39/6. After that, the way the bowlers responded - Asif, Shoaib, Danish and the all-round performance of Razzaq bhai."
Kamran Akmal added that he would never forget these two Test centuries against India.
"Everyone scored in the 2nd innings, first 7 batsmen scored fifties and Faisal Iqbal scored a century. Those two innings I will always remember, and we also won that Test series in Pakistan."
Kamran Akmal also reminded fans that the century in the Karachi Test match had come against an even more formidable Indian attack comprising Kumble, an in-form Zaheer Khan, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan, who had taken a hat-trick in the first over of the Test match.
"The Indian team was even more stronger in Karachi. They had Kumble, Zaheer Khan in form apart from RP Singh and with Irfan Pathan taking a hat-trick in the first over."
Kamran Akmal played a 113-run knock in the first innings of the Karachi Test of 2006, helping Pakistan recover from a score of 39/6 after Irfan Pathan's hat-trick to a respectable total of 245 runs. They went on to win the match by 341 runs.
Kamran Akmal has enjoyed playing against the Indian bowling attack in Test cricket, having scored 746 runs at an average of 43.88. He has also scored four of his six Test centuries against Pakistan's arch-rivals.
Published 18 Jul 2020, 14:33 IST