A few doubted India’s intentions while others tried to put things in perspective as Pakistan cricket community analysed India’s World Cup defeat against England, which made the road to semifinal a bit tougher for their side.
Former Test players Sikander Bakht and Basit Ali did not mince words in saying that they have always believed that India would try to keep Pakistan out of the semifinals.
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“One shouldn’t make accusations without evidence but as a former cricketer, I speak on the basis of what I see on the field. The way (MS) Dhoni batted in the last 10 overs says a lot. He hit one six in the final over and this is a man famous for his clean hitting,” Basit said.
“They don’t want Pakistan in the semifinals,” he alleged.
Former cricketer Rashid Latif also felt India did not try enough to chase the stiff 338-run target.
“What can one say. Everyone saw the match. We can only talk on the basis of the match we saw. And I feel India did not play its best game,” Latif said.
He said in the last 10 overs of their innings Indian batsmen didn’t try hard enough while too many runs were conceded in England’s last 10 overs.
Asked if it was deliberate on part of India, Latif said,”One shouldn’t say such things without any evidence or strong base.”
Bakht, who had earlier said that India could intentionally play badly in its remaining matches to keep Pakistan out of the semifinals, said people can now judge for themselves whether he was right or wrong.
“The way India batted there was no serious effort to win the match and that says it all.”
Former Test captain, Muhammad Yousuf felt that England raised its game against India and unfortunately India didn’t come to the game as it usually do.
“But Pakistan is still in with a chance to qualify for the semifinals and we must try to beat Bangladesh comprehensively and put other things out of the mind,” he said.
Former skipper Salman Butt though said it was England’s day.
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“Winning the toss and batting first was crucial for England. When Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow gave them a rollicking start it was always going to be difficult for India,” he said.
A former Test player turned analyst who didn’t want to be named noted that the problem started when England lost to Sri Lanka.
“Until then everything was smooth. The bottom line is that the broadcasters and sponsors have millions of dollars invested in the tournament and how can they imagine a semi-final without England and India the two top teams in the world,” he said.
“There is a lot more at stake in the World Cup than just cricket,” he added.
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