Controversies and Shahid Afridi are never too far from each other. A couple of days after claiming that Indian cricketers would beg for forgiveness after being beaten by Pakistan on multiple occasions, Afridi has now gone on to stand by his 9-year-old statement that legendary Sachin Tendulkar was scared of facing Shoaib Akhtar.
The former Pakistan captain said Sachin Tendulkar obviously won't accept that he was scared to face Shoaib Akhtar but Afridi claimed he had seen it while fielding at covers or at mid-off that Sachin had hard times against Akhtar in some of his spells.
"Dekhiye Sachin Tendulkar aapne muh se toh nahi kahega ki main dar raha hu. (Sachin obviously won't say it himself that 'I'm scared') There were some spells from Shoaib Akhtar in which not only Sachin but some of the world's best also got shaken up.
"When you are fielding at mid-off or covers, you can see it. You can sense the body language of a player. You can easily understand that a batsman is under pressure, he is not at his usual best. I'm not saying that Shoaib has scared Tendulkar always but there have been some spells from Shoaib that have pushed some of the world's best including Tendulkar on to the backfoot," Afridi told Zainab Abbas when he was asked whether he still stands by his statement made in 2011 that Tendulkar was scared of facing Akhtar.
In 2011, Shoaib Akhtar, in his book 'Controversially Yours' had claimed that Sachin was scared to face him. Afridi had gone on to back his teammate saying: "He (Tendulkar) was scared of Shoaib. I have seen it myself. I was fielding at square leg and saw his legs trembling when Shoaib came on to bowl."
He did not specify which match he was referring to.
"During the World Cup, he also looked scared of (young spinner) Saeed Ajmal," Afridi, who was skipper, said.
"It's not a big deal, players do feel the pressure at times and it becomes difficult," Afridi, who has scored 1524 runs in 67 ODIs and 709 runs from eights Tests against India.
The Sachin Tendulkar vs Shoaib Akhtar was a battle that everyone craved for during India-Pakistan matches. While the little master has punished Akhtar on many occasions, the Rawalpindi Express too has got the better of Tendulkar many times.
In the 9 Test matches that Sachin has played against Pakistan in which Shoaib was a part of the playing XI, he has scored 416 runs at an average of 41.60. Akhtar has dismissed him thrice in Test cricket.
In the 19 ODIs that Tendulkar has played against a Pakistan side with Akhtar, he has scored 864 runs at an average of 45.47 and a strike rate of 90.18. Akhtar has dismissed Tendulkar five times in ODIs.