Wasim Akram shared his thoughts on India’s World Cup campaign
Legendary Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram blamed the fans, social media and television channels for declaring India as World Cup champions even before the final against Australia had taken place. India won a record 10 games on the trot to reach the finals of the tournament and were the favourites to win the title for the third time. But what transpired at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19 broke a billion hearts. Australia captain Pat Cummins shocked many by opting to bowl after winning the toss in the final. That turned out to be a significant moment in the game and highlighted the tactical brilliance of the Aussies.
The Australia pacers led by Cummins, completely choked India in the middle overs, giving only four boundaries between overs 11 to 40 in the final. Despite a brisk start provided by captain Rohit Sharma in the powerplay, India stuttered their way to 240 on a track that was slow, to say the least.
Australia read the conditions perfectly. They knew that the black soil used for the pitch wouldn’t break like the red one as the game progressed. And because of due and the increase in moisture at night, the pitch would ease out. That’s exactly what happened.
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Just like with the bat, India got off to a great start with the ball, reducing Australia to 47/3 but as the match progressed, the pitch became easier to bat on, which was in complete contrast to what India faced earlier in the day.
This, however, takes nothing away from the way Travis Head batted. The left-hander became the third Australian after Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist to hit a century in a World Cup final to guide his team to their record-extending sixth title.
The close to 95 thousand crowd in Ahmedabad was silenced and more than a billion Indian fans watching the streaming from various parts of the world were left with a broken heart.
Akram said having high expectations from that Indian team was natural declaring them as champions on social media and television was wrong. “I can understand that as a nation it will be tough to get over it because your team played so well throughout the tournament. They won 10 matches on the trot, there was consistency. But television, social media, fans… you all already made India the winner of World Cup. You accept your mistake too, I’m sorry. You increased the hope of the people because they were playing so well. It’s not entirely your fault. They were playing very good cricket. But it came to just one bad game. Credit goes to Australia,” he said on Star Sports.
‘Move on, there’s a T20 World Cup coming up’: Akram to Indian fans
The former Pakistan captain said the way Australia executed their plans while bowling the in the middle overs, proved to be the deciding factor in the summit clash. “In the middle overs from 11-40, there were very few boundaries because of the way they bowled. They didn’t bowl a single pace-on delivery to Suryakumar Yadav. Fine-leg and thirdman were literally behind the keeper. So they had better plans,” he added.
Akram also revealed that Pakistani fans are yet to forget the loss in the 1999 World Cup final. “First of all, the Indian team played really well. It feels like a shock (that they lost in the final), they are down but it’s alright. I still get asked about the loss in the 1999 World Cup final. When will our fans forget this? The fans of India and Pakistan have an elephant’s memory. It’s been 30 years since we lost that final and they still ask me why I opted to bat after winning the toss. So, don’t take social media seriously, half of it is just drama.
The legendary left-arm fast bowler urged the Indian fans to move on and cheer for their team in the upcoming T20 World Cup in June 2024. “As a nation, you have to move on, there’s another World Cup coming in six months,” he said.
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