Former Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar has revealed a bizarre team discussion that took place ahead of the Pakistan vs India clash in Mohali in 1999. He has narrated that he was asked to hit Indian batter Sourav Ganguly on the ribs while bowling.
While talking to Virender Sehwag on Star Sports, the bowler whom every batsman feared, has disclosed that his job was to scare the batsmen with his pace. According to him, picking the wickets was decided as other players' task during the team meeting.
Sehwag, while conducting the conversation, said that he hopes Ganguly is listening to the interview, to which Shoaib replied that he had already informed the batter later that he was asked to target his ribs.
“I was always trying to target the head and ribs of a batsman. We had decided to target Ganguly on his ribs. In fact, it was decided in our meeting itself where it was discussed how I would try to hit batters. I asked, Do I not dismiss them?’. They said, ‘No. You have a lot of pace. You just try to hit the batters, we will take care of getting them out.”
“I’m sure Ganguly will be listening to this interview. I had told Ganguly later that our plan was to target you in the ribs and not get you out,”
Akhtar's short-pitched balls actually worked, and the Indian batter was immediately taken out of the field for medical care.
Notably, Ganguly and Akhtar have always been fierce rivals on the field. However, they share friendly relations with each other off the cricket field.