Former Pakistan pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar has opined that he could have dismissed Sachin Tendulkar much earlier in the 2003 World Cup clash against India had he resorted to bodyline bowling in his first spell.
He made this observation during an interaction about his career and the current state of Pakistan cricket on the YouTube show 'Cricket Baaz'.
Shoaib Akhtar was asked if he was more disappointed with the loss in the 1999 World Cup final against Australia or the defeat against India in the 2003 World Cup.
He responded that there is always disappointment after every loss, but claimed that the 1999 World Cup defeat caused more anguish because it was a final, whereas the 2003 clash against India was just a league stage encounter.
"The disappointment is there for every match you lose. It was obviously more for 1999, the 2003 World Cup encounter against India was a league match."
While talking about the 2003 World Cup defeat against India, Shoaib Akhtar reckoned that the Pakistan score was 25-30 runs below par, considering the placid nature of the pitch. He acknowledged that the Indian team and Sachin Tendulkar, in particular, played very well before the Master Blaster was dismissed off his bowling at an individual score of 98 runs.
"I felt that our score was less on that wicket. We were 25-30 runs below par because the pitch was very flat but India played well. Sachin played very well, he got dismissed on 98 off my bowling."
Shoaib Akhtar on the tactics he should have employed against the Indian batsmen in the 2003 World Cup clash
Shoaib Akhtar revealed that he realised after that match that bowlers should try to hit the batsmen if there is no assistance for them from the pitch.
"I realised after that match that when the wicket is so easy, then you should do bodyline bowling. I should have gone just to hit the batsman."
The 'Rawalpindi Express' added that he might have been struck for a couple of sixes, but could have picked up a wicket. This was something he eventually did, dismissing Sachin Tendulkar in his second spell with a short-pitched delivery at the body.
"At the most, I would have got hit for 2 sixes in an over, so what would have happened. I could have still picked up a wicket. The same bodyline bowling I did in the second spell, I got Sachin's wicket."
Shoaib Akhtar signed off by stating that this is a learning he wants to pass on to the younger generation. He said that bowlers should try to injure the batsmen if they are not able to produce the results on a docile pitch.
"This is the part of the process that I want to deliver to the youngsters, that if nothing is happening, then the batsman has a body. You should break it."
Sachin Tendulkar played a swashbuckling innings of 98 runs off just 75 balls to help India register a six-wicket win against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup. He was particularly severe on Shoaib Akhtar, with the Pakistan speedster conceding 72 runs in his quota of 10 overs.
Published 11 Sep 2020, 16:18 IST