The Sachin Tendulkar–Shoaib Akhtar rivalry was a well-matched contest in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the former Pakistan fast bowler feels that Indian fans only recall Tendulkar’s famous six from the 2003 World Cup because it makes them happy.
Speaking to presenter Zainab Abbas on an Instagram live, Akhtar said that if one visits India, they keep showing only a few World Cup games where Pakistan lose, because broadcasting an India loss would hurt their TRPs.
India currently have a 100% win record against Pakistan in World Cup games, one of which was the 2003 game in Centurion, where Sachin Tendulkar famously slapped an Akhtar bouncer over third man for a six during his match-winning innings of 98.
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“Sachin has been a very, very close friend of mine,” Akhtar said. “He’s a tremendous guy, very humble. He’s been the greatest batsman, but I might have dismissed him 12-13 times in matches.
“He hit me for a six in Centurion, which makes India very happy. They keep showing the same six. If I knew that one six can make 1.3 billion Indians so happy, I would have conceded a six every day!”
He went on to state how he had a great connection with the India players during his playing days, naming Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh as his best friends from across the border. He further said that, apart from Pakistan, he has been loved tremendously from neighbouring fans in India and Bangladesh.