Former Indian Pacer Ashish Nehra recalled being sledged in Punjabi by Shoaib Akhtar, during the 2004 Champions Trophy match — between India and Pakistan. The match was played in Birmingham and India had struggled to bat first.
A hard-fought 50 from Rahul Dravid and 47 from Ajit Agarkar helped India to put a 200 on the scoreboard. Ashish Nehra was the last man batting who eventually got caught on the last ball of the innings by Shahid Afridi on the bowling of Shoaib Akhtar.
Left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra revealed he faced some sledging after that wicket from his Pakistani counterparts.
Before You Pull, You Should Know Who You’re Facing: Shoaib Akhtar to Ashish Nehra in Punjabi
The Rawalpindi Express has always been outspoken. Ashish Nehra revealed on Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry podcast the time he faced sledging from Akhtar.
“In 2004 we were playing Champions Trophy game in Birmingham. India batted first and we scored some 200 runs,” Nehra said
“We lost that game in the end. I was the last guy out and Shoaib Akhtar bowled one short ball. I tried to pull it and got out caught at midwicket. Shahid Afridi took the catch and then he’s telling me in Punjabi ‘before you pull, you should know who you’re facing.”
The match was narrowly won by Pakistan following the contributions of Mohammad Yousuf (87) and Inzamam-Ul-Haq (41). India had a great start to their bowling as they knocked off Pakistan 27 for three, and all three wickets were taken by Irfan Pathan.
Shoaib Akhtar Is A Great Friend: Ashish Nehra
Even though they were fierce rivals they share a good friendship, confirmed Ashish Nehra.
“Shoaib Akhtar is a great friend, no doubt about it. Whenever we’re in England and even till today. After 3-4 months, we message each other and a banter is going on,” Nehra said.
Ashish Nehra played an 18-year long career for the Men in Blue, debuting in 1999 and retiring in the year 2017. Nehra had his highs and lows facing a long list of injuries during his career. He was astonishing with his seam and his wrist movement and subsequently baffled the batsmen during the peak time of his career.