It was an absolute shocker: Harmison on Akhtar’s deliberate beamer at Kirby
Former England fast-bowler Steve Harmison has recalled the time Pakistan’s legendary pacer Shoaib Akhtar bowled a deliberate beamer, during a during a 2003 County Championship game at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street.
Akhtar, while playing for Durham against Yorkshire, was frustrated by the number 11 Steve Kirby as he was unable to get him out. Kirby lasted 58 balls and 75 minutes in making 17, which made the Pakistan fast-bowler lose his cool.
“There’s losing it in a controlled way, but there’s also losing it a stupid way like how I witnessed Shoaib Akhtar do it against Steve Kirby who was No.11 for Yorkshire. We couldn’t get Steve Kirby out. Steve Kirby batted and he got stuck in to be fair. And I could see Shoaib losing it and losing it and losing it,” said Harmison while speaking on the Following On Cricket Podcast.
The Pakistan speedster went over the wicket and bowled a deliberate beamer at Kirby which lead to a verbal spat between the duo.
“And all of a sudden Shoaib runs round the wicket and bowls him a beamer. Steve Kirby’s now hit the deck, bounced off the deck, bounced back up. His helmet’s now on sideways, his grille’s going up his face, his gloves have come off, his bat’s been thrown down, and him and Shoaib are coming towards each other in the middle of the crease. And you’ve got this Pakistani and Yorkshireman going head to head and firing off to each other. That’s probably one of the worst I’ve seen anybody lose it,” he said.
Harmison added that the incident was shocking because he would never opt for such tactics while bowling.
“I was like, ‘Shoaib, what are you doing?’ And he was like ‘Well I couldn’t get him out’. And I looked at him and said ‘Shoaib, you did that on purpose didn’t you?’ And he just grinned, and I thought, ‘Please tell me, as a fast bowler, I could never ever do that,’” he said.
“I couldn’t stop laughing. I was thinking to myself ‘at no point in my career have I ever been in a position where I’m getting to a point where I’ve thought, as a bowler who can bowl a hundred mile an hour by the way, Shoaib Akhtar, I’m coming around the wicket and I’m going to bowl a beamer to No.11’. And I thought ‘If I ever get to that point, I’ve got to retire.’ It was an absolute shocker,” he concluded.