When Manoj Prabhakar set up Imran Khan in Sharjah

Former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar recalled how he once got the better of Pakistan's talisman Imran Khan during a Wills Trophy match at Sharjah in 1991.

Manoj Prabhakar: When Imran came to the crease, I looked at Kapil Paaji, who was standing at mid-on, and said, 'Tell me where to bowl him'. He wanted me to bowl closer to the wicket.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar recalled how he once got the better of Pakistan's talisman Imran Khan during a Wills Trophy match at Sharjah on October 23, 1991. In what was the last league game before the final, Pakistan beat India by four runs, with Aamer Sohail winning the Man-of-the-Match for his 133-ball 91.

Prabhakar, who bowled nine overs for 62, took the solitary wicket of Imran; cleaning up the former Pakistan skipper after he had hammered 43 of just 24 deliveries. Prabhakar vividly remembers Imran's wicket for the drama that had preceded the dismissal. "This was around the time I had introduced reverse swing In India... I had control [while] bowling at a good pace with the old ball. When Imran came to the crease, I looked at Kapil Paaji, who was standing at mid-on, and said, 'Tell me where to bowl to him'. He wanted me to bowl closer to the wicket," Prabhakar said.

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"Picking reverse swing wasn't very hard and this was against a team, credited with inventing the art [of reverse swing]. I bowled a reverse swinging delivery and he (Imran) hit me for a six... Kapil Paaji asked me to bowl the same line. This time, I bowled a yorker-length delivery and Imran made room and hit me out of the stadium!"

Imran's innings, studded with four fours and two sixes, was instrumental in Pakistan reaching an eventually match-winning total of 257/7. Prabhakar revealed how he set up the World Cup-winning former all-rounder.  "I bowled a beamer at Imran ... then I realised [wicketkeeper] Kiran More was lying down on the ground. I pretended it [the ball] had slipped from my hand but it hadn't! I walked up to Imran, said sorry and returned to the mark. The next delivery, he was probably expecting another beamer, but this time I bowled a slower delivery and he was clean bowled, beaten by lack of pace."

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Prabhakar, who remained unbeaten on 19, bore the brunt of Pakistan quicks Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis during the run-chase. The duo kept targetting Prabhakar's body. "I told them [Waqar and Wasim], ' I'm showing my stumps... why are you bowling at my body?' 'We've instructions from our skipper Imran Khan to not get you out... the plan is to hit you," Prabhakar recalled in jest.

For more such anecdotes from Prabhakar's top-five dismissals, listen to our podcast here.

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