Former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar have had plenty of battles on the field. The 2003 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan is one of many thrilling encounters between Tendulkar and Akhtar. There were however, some light moments off the field as well and the Pakistan speedster recalled one such incident with the Mumbai maestro Tendulkar at an awards function.
It was during an awards function during Pakistan’s 2007 tour of India when Akhtar tried to lift Tendulkar but failed. The Indian fell down but fortunately did not hurt himself. Akhtar recalled having felt afraid that he would never get an Indian visa and the fans would kill him.
“After Pakistan, if there is one country where I have received a lot of love, it is India. I have a lot of good memories from my visits to India. During the 2007 tour, there was an awards function. So obviously, there was a get-together after the function. As usual, I wanted to do something different. So, I tried to lift Sachin Tendulkar, just for fun. I managed to lift him but then he slipped from my hands. Tendulkar fell down, not that badly, but I thought to myself that ‘I am dead’,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by Sportskeeda website.
“I feared that if Sachin Tendulkar gets unfit or injured, I would never get an Indian Visa. The Indians would never allow me to come back to the country or would burn me alive,” one of the world’s fastest pace bowler admitted.
Akhtar added that Tendulkar was all right after falling down and later, the Indian batting legend hammered Pakistan in the bilateral series.
“When he fell down, I really thought I am done for life. I remember Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh were also there and they were telling me, ‘What are you doing man?’ And I responded saying ‘I don’t really know, it just happened.’ So, then I went and hugged Tendulkar and asked him if he was okay. Thankfully, he said he was fine,” Akhtar recalled.