Here's a revelation for Sachin Tendulkar fans. The same Shoaib Akhtar, who in his autobiography 'Controversially Yours' wrote about making Tendulkar tremble during the 2006 Faisalabad Test, was in fact nervous himself when he entered Eden Gardens against India in the Asian Test Championship (March, 1999).
"I had a major attack of nerves and walked into the stadium on knocking knees and wobbly legs," Akhtar wrote in his autobiography.
'99 Kolkata Test: Tendulkar is bowled by Akhtar(not in picture). Pic/AFP
India and Pakistan squared off in some fierce battles in early 1999. The Delhi Test that saw Anil Kumble take the Perfect 10 followed the Chennai Test that Pakistan won by a tantalising 12-run margin. While the archrivals squared the two-Test series with one win apiece, Akhtar, then a young fast bowler, warmed the bench.
After Pakistan lost the Delhi Test, Waqar Younis, who was sent back home, made way for Shoaib in the Kolkata Test. Playing in just his eighth Test, and first against India, Akhtar said the only way he knew to shake off the nerves was with aggression. He went up and asked Tendulkar at the pre-Test warm-up if he had heard of him. When told that he hadn't, Shoaib told him, 'You will, soon enough.'
Incidentally, Tendulkar was bowled first ball by Shoaib. "I got him with the first ball he faced and later he (Tendulkar) said to me, 'I will remember you now'," Akhtar wrote in the book.
"My legs were shaking but I knew that Sachin was the guy I had to snare," he added.