It’s a throwback from an old interview Babar Azam gave where he tells a hilarious anecdote about facing Shoaib Akhtar as a 15-year old boy. He narrates how Akhtar told him to “just block, not drive” and when he did drive one by mistake how Akthar reacted furiously.
It was a U-15 camp and the coach and the former Pakistan opener Mudassar Nazar once told Babar Azam to face Shoaib Akhtar, who had dropped in to train.
“He would come at the end and bowl on his own. Once he asked for a batsman to bowl at, and Mudassar bhai sent me,” Azam tells Cricbuzz.
“I was very excited, padded up, and thinking, “Shoaib Akhtar ko khelenge aaj (I will play him today).
He told me, “Bacche, Rokna hai, drive nahi maarna (Son, you have to block, not drive!). Mein kaha ‘theek hai’.
The first two balls, Azam defends but couldn’t control himself on the third and drove. “Mein tak, ek drive maar di!”
Akhtar repeats his earlier intruction, “I will bowl you fuller, don’t drive, ok?”. Babar nodded but would drive one ball again. “Tak, phir drive! It went through his legs”.
That’s when Akhtar lost it. “He said, bring the new ball, Mein batatha hoon (I will show you now!)
Immediately, Mudassar Nazar jumped in to tell, Babar recalls, “Bahar Nikalo, yeh maar dega isko! (Get him out, he [Akthar] will kill him!” Babar recalled with a laugh.
“Since then whenever he would come, he would call me and ask me to bat.” Once, by accident Akhtar would hurl a bouncer too.
“He said he will bowl full, karronga Mein Aage, but unsey voh bouncer ho gaya (it happenned by accident) and it flew over my head!”