It’s been more than a decade that Pakistani players have played in the IPL. The stint for Pakistani players at the World’s biggest cricket league lasted for only one season. At the 2008 edition, Shoaib Akhtar, who had turned out for Kolkata Knight Riders produced a spell which is still quite fresh in our memories. The veteran Pakistani pacer talked about his experience and his performance in that match at the Eden Gardens.
Shoaib Akhtar recounts the memory of his dream spell in Kolkata against Delhi, “When I took 4 wickets, everyone went mad. Even Shah Rukh was running all over the ground, he went mad and was delirious. I thought did I win the world cup, such was the frenzy all around. Shah Rukh said you have won a very big match for us.”
The image of Bollywood actor and KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan running around the Eden Gardens jumping with joy with the crowd was a sight to behold. Performance by Shoaib Akhtar also won him the man of the match award. At the time, KKR skipper Sourav Ganguly had also called Akhtar his prized asset. Akhtar’s pace and accuracy had lit up the journey for SRK’s franchise for some time.
It was a perfect setting for Shoaib Akhtar’s IPL debut when Kolkata Knight Riders took on Delhi Daredevils at Eden one evening in 2008. It was a must-win match for KKR and they were facing a really good side led by Virender Sehwag. KKR had been bowled out for a small score but Akhtar came out and ran through the Delhi top order. In his three overs, Akhtar took four wickets and gave away just 11 runs. He took the wickets of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and AB de Villiers and Manoj Tiwary. His spell ensured KKR a win as they stayed alive in the competition.