Former India opener and cricket commentator Aakash Chopra has responded to the allegations made by former Pakistan cricketers that India lost the match against England ‘intentionally’ in the ICC World Cup last year to ensure Pakistan didn’t qualify for the knock-out stage.
Speaking on his show AakashVani, the popular commentator explained the entire match situation and asked cricket fans to understand why India failed to beat England in that match.
“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,” Aakash said while explaining the reason why India conceded so many runs in the match.
He went on to add that the loss of an early wicket and India’s over-reliance on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli made the duo bat cautiously and that is where India lost the match.
“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,” Chopra said.
The former Pakistani cricketers even suggested that Dhoni didn’t go for the big shots towards the end and Chopra had an explanation for that too.
“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.”
He eventually asked the Pakistanis to forget the issue and asked them to not look for conspiracy theories.
“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.’