Plunkett recalls nightmarish encounter against Shoaib Akhtar

Sports Desk

ISLAMABAD: England fast bowler Liam Plunkett, who made his Test debut against Pakistan in 2005 recalled how he was scared to face his former Durham teammate Shoaib Akhtar when he came out to bat. “In county cricket, I was first-change to Shoaib and Harmy. I was at slip for Harmy and leg-slip for Shoaib. I faced Shoaib Akhtar in my first ever Test match. Because I played with Durham before that, I was marking my run-up before the Test and he just smiled and said ‘I’m gonna kill you’ and laughed,” Plunkett said on The Broken Trophy podcast. “I remember it like it was yesterday because I had my bat, at that time � you think [now] these bats are so thick and stuff � but it was Kashmir willow, it was real thin. And I was sat ready to bat, I was next in, and the tv screen’s right there, so you can see it’s like 96, 97, 96 [miles per hour]. Ashley Giles’ stumps get taken out, and I walk out to a guy who’s bowling 90 miles an hour,” the 35-year-old pacer said. Shoaib took a five-wicket haul in the second innings of the match. Recalling the speedster’s fiery spell, Plunkett stated he was astonished by the pace at which the ball travelled to the wicketkeeper. Plunkett, who was then hit on the shoulder by Shoaib in that fixture said: “I remember the first one, it looked like I played it well. You duck and you turn and you can see it travel to the keeper and the keeper catches it. I got my first medal of honour, he hit me on the shoulder.”Plunkett was dismissed LBW by Shoaib in the second innings of the Test, which was also the last of the three-match series. Pakistan won that match by an innings and 100 runs.