Former England pacer Steve Harmison has recalled the moment when Pakistan veteran speed merchant Shoaib Akhtar launched a deliberate beamer, during a during a 2003 County Championship fixture at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street.
Akhtar, while representing Durham against Yorkshire, got worked up by no.11 Steve Kirby as he kept failing to get him out. Kirby lasted 58 balls and 75 minutes in making 17, which fumed the dangerous fast-bowler up.
“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.
Rawalpindi Express went over the wicket and bowled a shocking beamer at Kirby which lead to an altercation between the two.
“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,” said Harmison.
Harmison went on to add that the incident was scary 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.
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.