In his short yet memorable international career, former Pakistan cricketer Basit Ali played against a formidable Indian team that featured some of the finest batters. From Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar to former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, some of the greatest batters used to lead the batting charge of Team India in the early 1990s.
Ali, who was often compared with legendary batter Javed Miandad during his playing days, managed to represent the Green Army in 50 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 19 Test matches. Taking a trip down memory lane during a special interaction on YouTube, the former cricketer opened up about the sledging tactics of the Pakistan side when they played against arch-rivals India.
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Recalling the epic on-field battles between the two Asian giants, Ali revealed that he was tasked to unnerve several Indian batters including the likes of Tendulkar, Ajay Jadeja, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Vinod Kambli during the Indo-Pak matches. Interacting with Azharuddin on his YouTube channel, Ali said that none of the Pakistani players wanted to sledge the former Indian skipper at the time.
“Before every India match, I was given the responsibility to sledge the Indian players. I was told to disturb Sachin (Tendulkar), Jadeja (Ajay), Sidhu (Navjot), Kambli (Vinod), but the moment Azhar bhai’s name used to come, the entire team unanimously said no one would disturb Azhar bhai. I don’t have words to describe the amount of respect we used to have for Azhar bhai in our dressing room,” Basit said.
Azharuddin, who is the only cricketer with the distinction of leading Team India in three successive World Cups, represented the Asian giants in 99 Tests and 334 ODIs. The middle-order batter smashed 6,215 runs in the 50-over format. The ex-Indian skipper accumulated 9,378 runs in the longest and oldest format of the game.
“Be it Wasim (Akram) bhai, Salim Malik, Rashid Latif, Inzmam-Ul-Haq and Waqar Younis, they would not dare to sledge Azhar bhai. I don’t think any Pakistan player ever insulted Azhar bhai. Azhar bhai used to bat at No 3 and when the likes of Ganguly and Dravid came up, he started batting low down the order and gave the youngsters his slot,” Ali added.