Sachin Tendulkar ran towards Saeed Ajmal to ask him to not bowl at his best during the match between Rest of the World XI (ROW XI) and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC XI) at the Lord’s in July 2014, the Pakistan spinner has revealed.
Ajmal, who was playing in the charity match for the MCC team under Tendulkar’s captaincy, did not start off his spell in the match in very charitable fashion, picking up 4 wickets in his first 4 overs. Tendulkar, appalled at his success, told him that the match was supposed to last till evening.
“Actually, it was a MCC match and it was a friendly match and a player needed to spend a certain time 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 said in a video interview uploaded on Cricket Pakistan’s YouTube channel.
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“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’,” Ajmal said.
Following Ajmal’s early strikes, Tendulkar took him off the attack. Yuvraj Singh played a rearguard knock for the ROW team, his 132 off 134 balls taking his side to 293/7 in 50 overs.
Chasing, 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.
This 2014 charity match, till now most famous for Andrew Strauss having described ROW batsman Kevin Pietersen as a ‘c***’ during commentary — in a segment which Strauss believed to be off-air — also involved an Indian player telling a Pakistani player to take it easy, as now revealed by Ajmal.