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Thank God he didn’t die: Shoaib Akhtar reminisces his deadly bouncer to Brian Lara

Lara was hit on the neck in that instance.

Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan Announces His Retirement From International Cricket
Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan fast bowler, used to ruffle a lot of feathers during his playing days. The Rawalpindi Express used to cross the 150 kph mark on a pretty consistent basis and the batsmen were mostly reluctant to come on to the front foot while facing him. The retired speedster had a vicious Yorker and one of the deadliest bouncers in his repertoire.

Speaking about one of his bumpers, Shoaib went down the memory lane and talked about the bouncer he had bowled to Brian Lara. The incident took place during an encounter between Pakistan and the West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Southampton in the 2004 Champions Trophy. The legendary batter had to retire hurt after the nasty blow. Lara was smacked on the neck and Shoaib was thankful that he didn’t die.

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A thankful Shoaib Akhtar

“I bowled Lara a bouncer that hit him on his neck, he was badly hurt and fell unconscious before being rushed to the hospital. Thank God he didn’t die, because if the ball had hit him just inches towards the head, his skull bone would have been broken and thank God it didn’t happen,” Shoaib was quoted as saying in a video message as per reports in Business Recorder.

Lara was the skipper and he had to be taken off after he was looking set on 31 runs off 30 balls with the help of five boundaries. Despite Lara’s departure the Caribbean team won the encounter comfortably by seven wickets with 21.5 overs to spare. Shoaib spewed venom in the match, dismissing both the openers- Chris Gayle and Wavell Hinds- within the fifth over.

He also bowled 32 dot deliveries, including a maiden in his seven overs. The ferocious spell of bowling showed that the West Indies batters didn’t find it easy in the middle. Pakistan elected to bat first after winning the toss and could only manage 131 in 38.2 overs.

The West Indies’ bowlers put up a collective effort with Corey Collymore, Dwayne Bravo and Hinds picking up a couple of wickets each. Opener Yasir Hameed top-scored for Pakistan with 39 runs. Thereafter, a half-century from Ramnaresh Sarwan took Windies over the line.

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