Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022

Balaji was more popular in Pakistan than Imran Khan in 2004: Ashish Nehra

Balaji, who played 8 Tests, 30 ODIs and 5 T20Is between 2003 and 2012, has also said previously that the 2003/04 tour of Pakistan was one of his greatest moments.

Lakshmipathy Balaji was India’s surprise weapon on the 2003/04 tour of Pakistan. (File Photo/AFP)

Lakshmipathy Balaji was the most popular player on India’s tour of Pakistan in 2003/04, Ashish Nehra said. The historic bilateral series might have seen a hat-trick from Irfan Pathan and a triple century from Virender Sehwag, but Nehra said Balaji’s popularity had reached such heights during that tour that he would probably be more popular than Imran Khan.

“Those six weeks he was hitting sixes left right and centre there was no doubt about it. Virender Sehwag triple hundred, Rahul Dravid double hundred, Irfan Pathan performance, all that is there but to me off the field, Pakistan, the nation as a whole and Laxmipathy Balaji in the dressing room,” Nehra said on a Star Sports cricket show.

READ | Balaji, the man who bagged IPL’s first hat-trick

“In the dressing room, Irfan can give you more stories, the only thing I remember is Laxmipathy Balaji on that particular tour. Maybe that time he was more popular than Imran Khan,” he added.

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