Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has blasted former Pakistan cricketers for suggesting that India deliberately threw their 2019 World Cup encounter against England to knock Pakistan out of the World Cup.
The whole controversy erupted when Abdul Razzaq said that he had 'no doubt' that India deliberately lost the World Cup match against England to eliminate their arch-rivals Pakistan from the World Cup. This was after Ben Stokes had mentioned in his book, On Fire, that the Indian batting approach during the run chase had taken him by surprise.
Mushtaq Ahmed had added fuel to the story by claiming that some West Indies cricketers had told him that India did not want Pakistan to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.
In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra asked the Pakistani cricketers to have some shame before making the preposterous allegations.
He started by questioning Waqar Younis for his statement suggesting the same, despite having been a brand ambassador of the ICC at the time.
"The T-shirt I am wearing today says Sharam (shame) not found. Just think a little and have some shame. Waqar Younis had given a statement that India had deliberately thrown the match, even though he was brand ambassador for the ICC. I mean seriously."
Aakash Chopra added that while Ben Stokes might have felt the Indian approach to the chase was a little strange, there was no suggestion of any deliberate attempt to lose the match.
He hit out at former Pakistan cricketers for suggesting that the ICC should be imposing fines on India for intentionally knocking out their western neighbours from the tournament.
On the flip side, Aakash Chopra contended that an Indian win would have helped them finish at the top of the points table. It might have also knocked out England from the World Cup, which would have been even more beneficial for the Indian team's long-term prospects in the tournament.
He asked the Pakistanis to introspect and win the tournament on their own merit, rather than on anyone else's benevolence. Aakash Chopra also questioned the Pakistan cricket team's performance against the West Indies in the same World Cup, where they were blown away by the Caribbean pace attack.
Aakash Chopra's analysis of the run chase
Aakash Chopra talked about how things unfolded on that particular day.
"India had conceded 337 runs in the first innings on an odd-shaped ground with one of the boundaries being extremely short. To make things worse India lost KL Rahul for a duck."
He pointed out that considering the relatively inexperienced middle-order, the pair of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had to play carefully to avoid any further damage.
"Rohit Sharma was dropped and then India became ultra-defensive. They might have felt that they could lose the match in the first 10 overs itself if they are not careful. I believe the match was lost in these first 10 overs and not in the latter overs as is being suggested," Aakash Chopra added.
Aakash Chopra also talked about the mediocre English bowling attack and suggested that the Indian approach might have been to target them in the later stages, considering the short boundaries.
"The Indian approach was to take the match deep and target the weak English bowling in the end overs. Unfortunately, that strategy backfired due to the untimely dismissal of Virat Kohli."
The renowned cricket commentator admitted that the Indian strategy might not have been great, but that there was no question of a deliberate loss. He asked the Pakistani cricketers to be ashamed of themselves while making any such suggestions.
For the record, India lost the 2019 World Cup match to England by 31 runs.