Ashish Nehra, the former Indian pacer is one of the best pacers to have ever played for team India. He was also the part of the Indian cricket team that lifted the World Cup in 2011. Recently, he recalled his time when legendary Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar hurled a sledge at him in the Punjabi language.
Shoaib Akhtar, who is regarded as one of the finest bowlers to have ever played the game, had a reputation of engaging with other cricketers in verbal face-offs.
There have been many instances when he indulged in verbal banter with team India. Recently, during a podcast on Wisden’s Greatest Rivalry, Ashish Nehra recalled one such incident where Akhtar sledged him in Punjabi.
The incident took place during the 2004 Champions Trophy when team India and Pakistan faced each other on-field. Nehra stated that during the tournament, when they scored 200 runs, he was the last man when the Rawalpindi Express fired a short-pitched delivery. Nehra tried to play a pull shot but failed at it and got caught at mid-wicket. This is when Akhtar told Nehra in Punjabi “before you pull, you should know who you’re facing,”
Recalling the same during the podcast, Nehra revealed:
“In 2004 we were playing Champions Trophy game in Birmingham. India batted first and we scored some 200 runs. 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 mid-wicket. Shahid Afridi took the catch and then he’s telling me in Punjabi ‘before you pull, you should know who you’re facing,”
During the conversation, Ashish Nehra also admitted that the former Pakistani pacer is his good friend. He said that whenever the pair is in England, they talk to each other via text and the batter continues between them. Talking about the same, he said:
“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,”