The rivalry between India and Pakistan is second to none in the cricketing world and it is clearly visible as players from both sides leave no stone unturned to get the better of their opposition. It is hard to imagine a situation where a player from India urges a Pakistan bowler to take it easy on the field and “not play the match too seriously”. While on the face of it seems highly unlikely, but it did indeed happen during a charity match between Rest of the World XI (ROW XI) and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC XI) at the Lord’s in July 2014.
Playing for MCC XI, Saaed Ajmal was on fire and made a mockery of ROW XI’s top-order dismissing the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Tamim Iqbal, Kevin Pietersen and Shahid Afridi in his opening spell, conceding just five runs.
Recalling the incident, former Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal revealed that Sachin Tendulkar, who was leading MCC XI in the match, came running towards him and asked him not to take the game too seriously as it was supposed to last at least till 6:30pm (local time) so that more funds could be collected.
“Actually, it was a MCC match and it was a friendly match and there is a certain time a player was needed to spend in the middle so that more funds could be collected. But when the match started I picked up four wickets in four overs and he (Sachin Tendulkar) came running towards me and said ‘Saeed bhai you are not supposed play the match too seriously as it’s a charity match. It’s for the people who have come here to enjoy. They will have food and drinks. The match shouldn’t get over before 6:30 but you are hell bent on ending it by 1′,” Saeed Ajmal revealed in a video interview, uploaded on Cricket Pakistan’s YouTube channel.
So I told him, I am bowling normally like I would in front of top players, in a positive manner. So he said that ‘I agree with you, but this is a charity match, so funds have to be collected. So enjoy the match, play cricket and have fun’. So that’s what happened,” he added.
With half of the ROW XI back in the pavilion inside 12 overs, Sachin removed Ajmal from the attack and Yuvraj Singh scored 132 off 134 ball helping his side post 293 for seven from 50 overs.
The target failed to test the MCC XI as Aaron Finch, opening along side Sachin Tendulkar, blasted an unbeaten 181 off just 145 balls, helping his side chase down the total in 45.5 overs with seven wickets in hand.
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