India and Pakistan share one of the fiercest rivalries in world cricket. The two teams have treated the fans with several memorable matches in their 70-year-long cricketing history. The countries don’t play any bilateral series anymore due to political issues which means that fans don’t get to see the two Asian giants play Test cricket with each other. Apart from memorable moments, the two teams have been also involved in numerous controversial incidents on the field as well.
One such incident is the infamous run out of Sachin Tendulkar in the first Test of the 1998/99 Asian Test Championship at Kolkata. Recently, legendary Pakistan Cricketer Wasim Akram shared the inside story of the contentious run out in his autobiography ‘Sultan: A Memoir’.
India were chasing 279 runs for victory in the fourth innings and were 142/3 in 42.2 overs with Tendulkar on 7 off 11. Tendulkar clipped the third ball of the over by Akram and looked for three. The substitute fielder Nadeem Khan who was chasing the ball collected it near the long-on boundary and threw it at the non-striker’s end. As Tendulkar was completing the third run, Shoaib Akhtar came to collect the ball near the stumps. However, Tendulkar who was watching the ball couldn’t spot him and collided with the Pakistan fast bowler which resulted in his unfortunate run out as the throw from Nadeem Khan hit the stumps.
The crowd at the Eden Gardens was not too impressed by the Pakistan players who appealed for the dismissal and celebrated once it was ruled in their favour by the Third Umpire. The match had to be stopped as they started pelting stones and hurling abuses at the visitors. Wasim has now revealed in his autobiography that the match referee and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had approached him.
They’ll hate me in Pakistan: Wasim Akram
“During the break, I was approached by the match referee with Sunil Gavaskar. ‘Wasim, we think you should recall Sachin,’ said Sunny. People will love you in India. Sunny knew how partisan the Kolkata crowd could be – he had once refused to play a Test there because he had been so badly barracked the previous time,” says Wasim in an excerpt from the book.
“But I had my own fans to worry about. ‘Sunny bhai… they might love me in India but they’ll hate me in Pakistan,’ I said. ‘Anyway, it’s not my decision. The umpire has given him out. It’s too late for me to withdraw the appeal. Play has continue. We all know it’s an accident but cricket is full of accidents. It’s not up to the captains to rectify.”
After the game was halted, Tendulkar walked out of the dressing room and went around the ground to calm the crowd. The game was once again resumed and Pakistan ended up winning the match by 46 runs.