Mumbai: Former Pakistan ‘pace express’ Shoaib Akhtar has revealed a sad secret regarding the 2003 World Cup loss to India. Pakistan lost the match by six wickets. The match was played on March 1, 2003 at Centurion, South Africa. India successfully chased down Pakistan’s total of 274. Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliant knock of 98 ensured an Indian win.
In the video posted on his YouTube channel, Akhtar revealed about how his fitness and bad captaincy from Waqar Younis played a decisive role in their loss.
He says,” The most disappointing match for me in my entire career was the 2003 World Cup match against India at Centurion. We had failed to defend a target of 274 despite having a very good bowling line-up,"
He also revealed that he had to take four-five injections on his left knee the night before the match. And because of that, water had accumulated in his knees and he had no sensation in it.
"After the end of our innings, I told my teammates that we have probably scored 30-40 runs less. However, all the players in the team shouted at me saying if '273 is not enough then what is'. They said we will be able to get India all out. However, I knew that the pitch was a good one for batting and it will remain so in the second innings as well."
"When we started the bowling, I noticed that my left knee had gone numb. Because of which, I wasn't able to run properly through my bowling run-up. As a result I was not able to bowl properly. Indian openers, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, went for the charge from the word go. In fact, Sachin played me very well and even hit me for a six over point.”
"I had no clue how to bowl and get the breakthrough. Unfortunately, the captain (Waqar Younis) got me out of the attack. He brought me later in the innings where I just bowled fast and short. I got out Sachin at 98 on a short-pitched delivery. I told the captain that I should have persisted with such bowling from the very beginning. In the end we lost the match,"
He also added that, “It was a bitter experience for me because we could have defeated India, both in 1999 and 2003, but we couldn't. Not to take the credit away from India who have played us exceeding well at the World Cups,"
Shoaib Aktar was hit for 72 runs during that match and the only success he had was the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar.
"I still regret that loss. If we could have scored some more runs and bowled better, we could have won that match. But unfortunately, my fitness came in the way and also, it was poor captaincy that made us lose that match," he added.