Dravid said lean forward & be ready for a catch: Suresh Raina reveals master plan to dismiss Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal
Suresh Raina, who has played a lot of cricket under Rahul Dravid in the early part of his career, recalled an India vs Pakistan ODI in 2006 to explain the greatness of Dravid’s leadership and game reading skills that helped India get the wicket of Kamran Akmal.
When we talk about successful Indian captains the debate generally revolves around Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni, and to a certain extent current skipper Virat Kohli, mainly because of his unparalleled record in Test cricket. Rahul Dravid would rarely feature in such a debate. Much like Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid is remembered more as a legendary batsman than a successful captain. But ask the players that played under Dravid between 2005 and 2007, you might get a different answer. Suresh Raina is one of those who rates Dravid highly as a captain.
Raina, who has played a lot of cricket under Dravid in the early days of his career, recalled an India vs Pakistan ODI in 2006 to explain the greatness of Dravid’s leadership and game reading skills.
In the 4th ODI at Multan, Pakistan were 14 for no loss when Irfan Pathan started to bowl his fourth and India’s seventh over. Salman Butt took a single and the strike was back to Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal.
Akmal then was known to be a dasher, who provided quick starts to Pakistan and was particularly strong square of the wicket. After a sedate first six overs, Dravid sensed something happening. He knew it was a matter of time when Akmal will go for the aerial shot.
Raina explained how Dravid had suddenly asked him to stand at short-point and be ready for an uppish cut shot.
“I remember the catch against Pakistan which I had taken at point. Rahul Dravid was our captain, Irfan Pathan was the bowler and Kamran Akmal was batting. There was a rule at that time to keep catching fielders in the 15 yards. So Rahul bhai asked me will you stand at point? I said ‘yes please tell me where to stand’. He said lean forward and be ready to take a catch,” Raina told Kapil Dev in an interview for ABP News.
As it turned out, the very next ball from Pathan was a sucker ball outside off stump and Akmal took the bait. He made a good connection but hit it straight to Raina, who took a sharp reflex catch.
“The moment Irfan delivered the next ball, Akmal smashed it hard, I just saw the ball and it came straight into my hands. The thing that impressed me most was that Rahul bhai knew it that a catch might come there and it came in the next delivery,” Raina said.
The left-hander further explained why the catch remains special for him by saying that the captain, bowler, and fielder were involved equally.
“The reason why I remember that catch is that captain, bowler, fielder everybody was involved. And it is a job of the fielder to always be ready for a catch,” said Raina.
Pakistan were bowled out 161 as RP Singh (4/40) and Irfan Pathan (3/26) ran through Pakistan’s batting line-up.
In reply, Dravid scored 59 and Raina remained unbeaten on 32 as India chased down the target in 32.3 overs with five wickets in hand.
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