Back in 2008, Kolkata Knight Riders had acquired the services of Shoaib Akhtar and the Pakistani pacer lit up the stage in his first match as he picked up four wickets for 11 runs as KKR ran all over Virender Sehwag’s Delhi Daredevils. The performance was a blistering one and Eden Gardens was up all together and even Shah Rukh Khan started running laps all around the ground. Recounting the experience Akhtar said: “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.”
Akhtar was one of the marquee players for KKR in the first season and Sourav Ganguly spoke about the experience of leading the maverick fast-bowler.
“I knew Shoaib’s blistering pace was bound to make a difference in the shortest format. In fact it did. We knocked out Sehwag’s belligerent Delhi splendidly as the Rawalpindi Express cleaned them up, and Eden roared in delight. Shoaib took four wickets for 11 runs and we won a low-scoring match. It was one of our most memorable wins but we could not sustain it,” Ganguly wrote in his book.
“Handling Shoaib turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. Instead of turning around the competition for us, Shoaib suddenly decided not to play any more. He withdrew after making only three appearances despite my repeated requests,” he goes on to add.
“He said he had an injury, but I for one found his injury mysterious. I pleaded with him that he had to send down only four overs. I said even with a small, niggling injury he must play. But it was impossible to get him on the park,” Ganguly went on to write.