Tricked Ashwin into not bowling off-spinner during 2014 Asia Cup, recalls Shahid Afridi
Needing ten runs from the last over, Shahid Afridi has recalled how he tricked Ravichandran Ashwin into not bowling the off-spinner during the 2014 Asia Cup encounter against India. With just one wicket remaining, Afridi also remembered how he told the tail-enders to just take a single.
It was one of the most intense encounters between India and Pakistan. Two years after bilateral series between the two sides came to a halt, the two big names met in the do-or-die stage of the 2014 Asia Cup. At Dhaka, India opted to bat first, under the captaincy of Virat Kohli where they put on 245 runs on board for the loss of eight wickets.
Pakistan’s bright start to the run-chase all but paved the way for their side’s progress to the final. However, things took a dramatic turn once Mohammad Hafeez-Shoaib Malik partnership was broken. Afridi was in the mix of things, batting alongside the long Pakistan tail with 43 runs still needed for a victory. Recalling the dramatic finish to the encounter, Afridi revealed how he tricked India’s premier spinner into not bowling his stock delivery, off-spinner during the finish. With the field set deep on the leg-side, Afridi had to get one clear the boundary rope on the off-side.
“What I did against Ashwin was to look towards the leg side. I wanted to trick him so that he thinks that I am going to hit on the leg side. The idea behind it was to force the off-spiner not to bowl his off-spin. And Ashwin did exactly that. He bowled the leg-spin. I hit it over the extra cover region for a six. The next delivery was a difficult one, I did not get it in the middle. I was in two minds, I was thinking will it go over the ropes or not. But in the end, the ball sailed over the fielder for a six. I breathed a sigh of relief,” Afridi told cricket presenter Zainab Abbas in the interview, reported Hindustan Times.
However, before it transpired to the last over action, the Pakistani all-rounder had dug it out alongside the tailenders. Afridi admitted that his advice to all the lower order batsmen during the game was simple, hit the ball and run across to the non-striker’s end. Alongside Junaid Khan, Afridi took the side home, with two balls to spare, as he hit the Indian spinner for two long sixes.
“Saeed Ajmal was batting with me. I told him to put bat on ball and get a single. I told him not to go for the sweep shot but he ended up playing one and lost his wicket. Ashwin was bowling well, he was getting some purchase from the track too. Then Junaid Khan came in. I told him the same thing, just get a single. He somehow managed to get me back on strike,” Afridi concluded.