Bengaluru: An agitated Shoaib Akhtar hit out at “India fixed the match” claims made by a section of people on social media by questioning them who were claiming that India was batting poorly to see Pakistan knocked out of Asia Cup.
“Man, I cannot understand what these people are doing? Man, I am receiving memes and messages that India is deliberately playing poorly to see Pakistan get knocked out. India has fixed the game. Man, are your minds okay? They were bowling their hearts out. That (Dunith) Wellalage and Sri Lanka bowled very well. That 20 years old boy bowled well and made 43 runs.
“Boss, why will India want to lose? They will straightaway storm into finals. And needlessly people start making news. A great fight back by India. Well done. Kuldeep (Yadav) is an asset. Look at how he bowled. Look at Jasprit Bumrah. Look at their fight defending such a small total,” he said in his official Youtube channel.
Shoaib lauded Sri Lanka and flayed Pakistan’s meek submission to India in the last match. “Despite Sri Lanka defaulting, look at their people … They are great. There is a fight. Just look at Wellalage, who is just 20 years old … I did not see this kind of fight in our Pakistan players. And why should our pacers be blamed? How many ODI matches have they played in the last one year? So I am not surprised they suffered injuries,” he said.
Shoaib wants Pakistan to stage a fightback like India did against Sri Lanka, despite posting a small total. He praised Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Indian bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav, for helping India stage a fightback.
“I want a fightback from Pakistan. At least chase 300 runs, man. At least make 275 runs, man. Just conceding the match – This was humiliating, man. Look at Sri Lanka, how they trapped India because they have good spinners. Apart from Shadab (Khan), we don’t have spinners. Don’t we have middle-order batsmen on whom we can rely? Look at Ishan Kishan and Hardik, and in the middle you look at Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. On the contrary we do not have that strength.
“So, Pakistan needs to think a lot, but Sri Lanka did well, kudos to them. What an effort that was! India again – good job. I mean they really really fought and they really really batted their hearts out man. It was amazing to see every single bowler, from Hardik to Kuldeep, from Jasprit to Jadeja,” he said.
Shoaib also praised Ravindra Jadeja’s allround abilities and Rohit Sharma’s captaincy. He said, “What a useful cricketer he (Jadeja) is. No wonder why he is in the team. He is a fighter. If he is not bowling, he is a part of the fielding, if not in batting. So, this is what makes a team that everybody is happy with.
“And Rohit Sharma and company, though they were down and out, they fought because they wanted not just to go into the final, but make sure that they learn from their mistakes and prove they are a far better team … I really liked how India played,” he said.
Shoaib, however, wished Pakistan good luck for the remaining matches in Asia Cup. He said, “Pakistanis, keep your hopes alive …. and fight. Guys fight back. That’s what matters for Pakistan. But again my best wishes to Pakistan. Walk in and play with passion, and win. And I believe that you are going to pull it off. If you can pull it off, then we should meet India in the final.”