"Beat Them Psychologically": Shoaib Akhtar Remembers Pakistan's Ploy To Defeat India In 2004
The Indian cricket team toured Pakistan for five ODIs and three Tests in 2004.
The Indian cricket team's 2004 tour of Pakistan was a memorable one. Team India won the five-match ODI series 3-2 while they beat the hosts 2-1 in the three-match Test series. After that, India toured Pakistan only once in 2005-06. The last time the two teams played a bilateral series was back in 2012-13 when Pakistan toured India. Shoaib Akhtar has been part of many such bilateral series and in an interview revealed Pakistan's plans against India for the 2004 tour.
"We wanted to create pacy wickets for Indian batters. Dry but pacy, where scores like 350 would not be made. Our plan was to dominate the first match, then the second and make a pacy one for the third match. 'Psychologically marte hain inko'. But then you caught a brilliant catch and turned the match," Akhtar told Mohammad Kaif in a video chat show on Sportskeeda cricket.
The catch that Akhtar was referring to was of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the first ODI.
India had put on 349 runs in the first innings. Rahul Dravid fell short of his hundred by one run in the match. Kaif made a valuable contribution of 46 runs in the middle-order.
During the chase, Inzamam-ul-Haq's century kept Pakistan in the hunt. They needed just 10 runs off the last eight balls when Shoaib Malik skied one towards long on off Zaheer Khan and Kaif ran from long off at full speed, stretched full length and grasped the ball with both hands -- nearly hitting teammate Hemang Badani in the process -- to give India hope.
That proved to be the game-changer as Pakistan crumbled under pressure, unable to score the required 9 runs off the final over.
"We got a lot of love and respect in Pakistan during our tour. Not only me, Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly everyone will say the same about that tour. We had to take permission to go out shopping. But when I went shopping, no one was ready to take money. Everyone used to say - you have come from India to play cricket, you are our guests," Kaif said.