Still 100 Percent Sure It Was Out: Saeed Ajmal Recalls LBW Call Against Tendulkar

Nine years on, Saeed Ajmal remains convinced that he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar LBW during the 2011 World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan. Ajmal, the former offspinner had Tendulkar given out leg before wicket by umpire Ian Gould, but the decision was overturned by the third umpire after a referral.

As stone dead as the LBW looked, the replay showed the ball missing leg stump. Tendulkar, who was batting on 23 then, went on to top score for India with 85. The controversial call is still fresh in the minds of Ajmal, who walked away from cricket in November 2017.

“It was straight in front and I was 100 percent sure he was out. Shahid Afridi, Kamran, Wahab and other players asked me was he (Tendulkar) out and I told them he is gone,” Ajmal said on a channel. “I never got a chance to bowl to him in a Test so whenever I played against him in white ball cricket I always wanted to do my best.”

What gets Ajmal the most is how the change of the on-field decision worked in favour of India, as Tendulkar held the innings together, despite getting three more reprieves to take India to 260. Pakistan fell short by 29 runs, allowing India a passage to their third World Cup final.

“More disappointing was that we lost the semifinal and it is obvious that Tendulkar’s 85 runs made all the difference. Even today, the third umpire’s decision baffles me. Maybe luck was with him that day and he went on play such a crucial innings for his team,” explained Ajmal.

Umpire Gould narrated that Tendulkar started walking back to the dressing-room after having a consultation with his partner Gautam Gambhir. He said his world stopped when Tendulkar made the ‘T’ signal all of a sudden.

“When I gave him out at Mohali, I’m thinking this is out. I will sit here and guarantee you, if I see it again, I’d still give it out, simple as that. He talked to Gambhir and looked like he was going to walk out, and I’m thinking thank God for that, then he spun on his heels and made that T sign and the world stopped,” Cricket Pakistan quoted him as saying.

“Eventually, Billy Bowden told me ‘It’s missing leg, I need you to change your decision.’ Well, no disrespect to him, but I was watching on a 90-foot screen showing me it was missing leg by an inch so I didn’t really need his analysis. I’ve got a picture here where I’m looking slightly disgruntled or annoyed as I gave them not out.”