Wasim Akram recalls the times when he and Waqar Younis sledged young Sachin Tendulkar

Wasim reveals an anecdote of how the Pakistan pace duo attacked Sachin but the latter was least bothered about the tauntings.

Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Legendary Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram has been regarded as the greatest left-arm fast bowler of all-time. He was the first bowler to pick 400 wickets in both Tests and ODIs. He also picked up 500 wickets in one-dayers and first to take four hat-tricks in international cricket. His on-field tiffs with legendary Sachin Tendulkar is the stuff of legends and Akram reminisced about his first on-field fight with Indian batsman.

During India Today’s Salaam India conclave on Sunday, the two legends were invited as guests and the audience were enthralled with stories by the former international captains. Sachin, who made his international debut at a tender age of 16 in 1989, was already a sensation with his exploits in school and domestic cricket. Pakistan was a tough first tour for the teenager given that their fast bowling lineup consisted of Akram, captain Imran Khan, and an 18-year-old Waqar Younis, who made his debut in the same Test as Tendulkar.


Wasim and Waqar sledge young Tendulkar

“Ahead of India’s our of Pakistan in 1989, we were reading in the papers that a young sensation (Sachin Tendulkar) is coming this time. I was 20, Waqar (Younis) was 18 I guess, so we thought how could a 16-year-old kid be so good that he is going to play Test cricket,” Akram was quoted as saying by India Today.

Trying to intimidate the youngster, Wasim and Waqar hit him with a barrage of bouncers and yorkers and also decided to throw some verbal volleys at him and much to the surprise of Akram, Sachin didn’t engage them with words but continued focusing on his batting.

“So, when Sachin came, in his first Test we attacked him with the ball and did sledging but even at 16, he gave no reaction. It was a sign of a top batsman as good batsmen they don’t react to sledging and keep focusing on their game,” he further added.

Sachin made 15 runs in his first Test innings before being castled by a banana swing yorker by Waqar Younis. However, this 16-year-old went on to have a 24-year international cricket career in which he broke many batting records and ended up with 34,347 international runs and 100 centuries to his name. Sachin cemented his legacy as the greatest batsman of all-time, right up there with Sir Don Bradman.

Wasim also narrated an instance where Tendulkar smashed legendary Pakistani leg-spinner Abdul Qadir to all parts of Peshawar ground in a shorted one-day match. “But the Pakistan team got to witness Sachin’s real talent in an ODI game which was reduced to 20-25 over game due to rain in Peshawar. Sachin smashed Abdul Qadir, one of the greatest spinners of all-time for four or five sixes in an over. That’s when we realized this kid was special,” Akram said.