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Watch: When Brad Haddin ran behind his stumps and allowed Shoaib Akhtar to bowl him on a free hit

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Shoaib Akhtar bowled several no balls during a match between Australia A and the touring Pakistanis in 2005/06. Brad Haddin responded in the most ingenious way.

Pakistan’s 2005/06 tour of Australia is remembered mostly for the Perth Test, in which Justin Langer (191 and 97) outscored Pakistan (179 and 72) in each innings. Pakistan’s second-innings collapse was engineered by Glenn McGrath, who returned career-best figures of 8-24.

On the same tour, the tourists played a match against Australia A at the Adelaide Oval. The match was played in the newest format of cricket – Twenty20 – which had caused a stir since its inception in England over a couple of years ago.


Shoaib Akhtar bowled the first ball of the match after home captain Brad Haddin opted to bat. It was a no ball, and the openers, James Hopes and Haddin, ran a single. As per the playing conditions of this new format, the batting side got two runs for the no-ball, and the next ball was a free hit.

As Shoaib steamed in, Haddin ran behind the stumps to take guard. One can only wonder whether keeping wickets made him think that way. The thinking was logical and more importantly, within the laws. It would allow him more time against those 155 kph thunderbolts. The toe-crusher would not be a yorker anymore but a ball of a hittable length. And if Shoaib hit the stumps, well… there was little to lose.

Haddin’s calculations had been spot on, for it was indeed a yorker. With ample time to read the ball after it pitched, Haddin swung towards mid-wicket, and picked up two runs. Meanwhile, it was revealed that Shoaib had overstepped again. In other words, Australia A were 7-0 (thanks to the four runs from the two no balls) with a legal ball yet to be bowled, and there would be another free hit.

This time Shoaib bowled slower, aimed for the stumps, and hit (something three of his compatriots would fail to in a T20 World Cup bowl-out against India not too long afterwards). The ball never reached Haddin, but it was not dead either – so they ran a bye.

Shoaib (2-37) had his revenge, bowling Haddin (2) later that over and Hopes (8) in his next over. David Hussey (50) and Cameron White (58*) lifted Australia A to 185-5. Pakistan managed only 129-7 in response. Both teams fell behind on the over rate, and were penalised six runs.

Watch Brad Haddin’s brilliant response to Shoaib Akhtar’s free-hit balls here:

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