Don’t look for ‘conspiracy theories’, Aakash Chopra to former Pakistan cricketers
Former Pakistan cricketers Sikander Bakht, Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Razzaq have been quoting England all-rounder Ben Stokes for his book ‘On Fire’ for some time now, saying that India had tried to get Pakistan out of the tournament in the last World Cup.
Finally, an Indian responded over the issue. This is former Indian opener Aakash Chopra. As a cricketer, his career is not that rich. He has scored just 437 runs in 10 Tests, has two fifties and a maximum of 60 runs in an innings. However, Aakash Chopra has earned a reputation as a ‘cricket pundit’, commenting on cricket. Analyzing the match, Chopra showed that India did not lose to England on purpose. That is why he is asking the Pakistanis to accept the truth by omitting the ‘conspiracy theory’.
On his show ‘Akash Vani’, Chopra, 42, said,
“Some former Pakistan cricketers seem to have passed the verdict. They are saying that India lost the match to England intentionally to ensure Pakistan doesn’t go through. They are even suggesting that ICC should fine India and something like this is not acceptable. How can they even suggest something like that.
“One needs to look at the circumstances the teams were in…the boundary at one side was very small, and England scored 337 on a placid track. Every bowler went for runs although India did bounce back in the last ten overs and I was commentating on the match.”
Chasing the run, India quickly lost a wicket and fell under pressure. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli continued to bat very carefully. Chopra said, “KL Rahul was dismissed in the very first over of the chase and after Rohit was given a reprieve, both Rohit and Virat played the first 10 overs very carefully. In hindsight if you look at where the game changed, it was in those 10 overs and not towards the end of the chase.
“I think what happened was that the Indian batsmen became too cautious about not losing wickets and that is where they got behind the asking rate.The intent in the first 10 overs was defensive but both Kohli and Rohit knew that if they had got out early then the match could get over very quickly.”
Pakistani cricketers have repeatedly blamed Dhoni for not wanting to play big shots in the end. Chopra also explained, “India failed to accelerate as they lost Kohli’s wicket at a crucial moment. By the time Dhoni and Jadhav were batting towards the end the match was already over. There were quite a few miscalculations in that chase but to say they deliberately lost the match is wrong.
“If England had lost the match they would have been knocked out of the tournament. Why wouldn’t the Indian team want that? Well, if you are a Pakistani you might not think about this aspect but for the others you must note this point carefully.”
Analyzing the match as his own, the former Indian opener told his Pakistani friends to forget about it and refused to look for “conspiracy theories”, saying, “I accept India didn’t play well and made mistakes in the match but I won’t accept the claims that India lost deliberately to ensure Pakistan does not progress. I request my Pakistani friends to forget about this. One must win big tournaments by playing well and not by depending on others’ results. Had they not lost to West Indies, they wouldn’t have had to think about these conspiracy theories.”