Former opener Aakash Chopra rubbished the claims of some of the ex-Pakistan cricketers who said that India might have deliberately lost their group match against England in the 2019 World Cup so that their arch-rivals don’t progress any further in the tournament.
Former captain Waqar Younis, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed were some of the former players from across the border who alleged that India threw the match which meant Pakistan were knocked out of the 2019 World Cup in the round-robin stage.
Jonny Bairstow’s 109-ball 111 saw England post a mammoth 337 in Birmingham. The hosts then restricted India to 306 for 5 despite Rohit Sharma’s 102 to win the match by 31 runs. It was the only loss India had suffered in the round-robin stage in their campaign.
The win helped England eventually qualify for the semi-finals in third place along while Pakistan finished 5th in the round-robin stage.
“There is no doubt (India lost the match intentionally). I said it at that time as well. Every cricketer felt the same. A player (MS Dhoni) who can hit a six or a four is defending the ball, you just know,” Razzaq alleged in a recent interview with ARY news.
The allegations made by former Pakistan cricketers grew stronger after England all-rounder Ben Stoke recently mentioned in his book, ‘On Fire’, that he was surprised by India’s approach and lack of intent in the run chase.
But Chopra has rubbished all such claims and urged the ICC to fine all those who are saying that India lost on purpose in that game.
“It is understandable if the partnership between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma didn’t make sense to Stokes or if he was confused by Dhoni’s approach towards the end. But he never said that India deliberately lost the match.
“Former Pakistani cricketers are openly saying that India lost deliberately and ICC should fine them. How can you think like that? It was more important for India to top the group at that time,” Chopra said.
India had qualified for the semis as the top-ranked team but lost to New Zealand in their last-four clash. England then defeated the Black Caps in a dramatic final game to win their maiden 50-over World Cup title.