Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan recalled the time when he struck a 210-run partnership with MS Dhoni against Pakistan in 2006 Faisalabad Test. India were in a spot of bother at 288-5, but the duo ensured that India reached a mammoth 603.
Incidentally this was also Dhoni’s first Test ton.
Talking to Sports Tak, Pathan revealed how the pair was troubled by Shoaib Akhtar early on in the innings.
“I faced Akhtar’s first ball and it was a bouncer and it went past my ear. I couldn’t even see the ball. Then, he kept bowling bouncer after bouncer. Somehow we were able to play out his spell. We tried building our partnership and after sometime, Akhtar again came for a new spell,” he added.
“Akhtar was sledging as always, trying to get into our minds and break the partnership. I told Dhoni ‘I will sledge Akhtar and you just laugh at him’ and Dhoni agreed to it. Akhtar continued sledging us and at the time, the ball was also starting to reverse swing, which was even more dangerous for us. Our plan was to negate the reverse swing on the ball, which we could do if we could Akhtar to bowl shorter deliveries,” he further said.
“That was the time, I sledged Akhtar saying ‘will you be able to bowl with the same intensity in the next spell?’. He responded angrily ‘you are talking too much, I will remove you from here’. So I said, ‘You won’t be able to do it, I am also a real Pathan, you just do your bowling, don’t talk’.
“The next ball was a bouncer, I was ready for it. I left it. Then he started bowling short balls. I went to tap gloves with Dhoni while Akhtar was there, and I said ‘Paaji, the pitch is damp, you need to bowl a little more shorter’. He kept getting angry, and we were able to play out that spell. After Akhtar’s spell, the batting became easier for us, and we were able to save the Test match and the match ended in a draw,” Pathan said.