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A day after Shoaib Akhtar made a sensational statement at the launch of his autobiography that “Sachin Tendulkar was scared of him”, causing an entire nation to scream in indignation, the Master Blaster has privately admitted, his public statement notwithstanding, that he indeed was terrified of the Pakistani pace bowler.
Speaking to The UnReal Times, Sachin said, “To be honest, I wasn’t scared of Shoaib for the first few years of his career when he was at the peak of his prowess. But ever since the day I read in the newspapers that he sought reimbursement from the PCB for the treatment of er… genital warts, I have been utterly terrified. Just watching him stand at the start of his run-up, and rub the ball vigorously on his pants gave me the heebie jeebies” he shivered. “After that horrifying visual, the pressure of middling that ball at any cost was just too much for me.”
Former cricketing greats have concurred with Sachin. “Bowling with him was probably more painful then having to face him as an opposition batsman. Every time he would rub the ball and then give it to me to apply saliva, I would nearly puke. Now you know why Waqar and I hated bowling with him,” disclosed Pakistani cricketing legend, Wasim Akram.
The other little master, Sunil Gavaskar, pointed out the technical difficulties in fending off balls infected with warts. “Yorkers hurled at 150 mph can be easily negotiated with sound technique and nimble footwork but there is no technique to keep the mind calm while trying to fend off a ball that has just been rubbed into the private parts of a man diagnosed with genital warts. The disease may have rendered Shoaib impotent but it made his bowling extremely potent,” observed Sunny.
Rahul Dravid was clearly more successful in dealing with Shoaib’s lethal deliveries. Team mates reveal that ‘The Wall’ would read up on genital warts and mentally prepare himself to deal clinically with the infected balls, making him one of the most successful batsmen against the Rawalpindi Express. Paraphrashing Shastri, the Wall remarked, “That’s just what the doctor ordered to deal with an X-rated bowler as opposed to a bowler with the X factor.”