'He left Lara almost unconscious' - former WI skipper Sammy remembers when Pakistan quick Akhtar made him question decision to play cricket

By Sports Desk May 25, 2021

Former West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, has admitted that a nasty delivery faced by batting legend Brian Lara from Pakistan fast bowling great Shoaib Akhtar made him fearfully question whether he wanted to continue playing cricket.

The incident took place during the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy in a semi-final encounter between the teams.  Lara, then the West Indies captain, was on 30 when the brutish delivery from the Rawalpindi Express spat off the pitch and caught the evading batsman in the back of the neck.

Sammy, then a 19-year-old, had watched from the bench.

“When I made my debut for the West Indies in the Champions Trophy, I remember Pakistan playing West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire. They were opening with Mohammad Sami, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar," Sammy told The Current.

 "I saw Shoaib Akhtar bowling a bouncer to Brian Lara and hit him in the head. Brian Lara fell back, probably almost unconscious. I was sitting, and I was 19 years old next to Dwayne Bravo. I literally questioned whether I wanted to play cricket again. Shoaib Akhtar did that to me,” he added.

After staying down for a while, Lara left the field injured and did not return.  The West Indies, however, ended up winning the match easily with seven wickets to spare.

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