The verbose former Pakistani Skipper Amir Sohail is in the headlines for his remarks on Pakistan’s spectacular performances in the ongoing Champions Trophy, of which the team is the finalist.
At a time when analysts, former cricketers, and fans were all praise for the brilliant fightback by team Pakistan to secure a seemingly impossible final berth, Amir Sohail derided the effort squarely.
At a time when this young team is a victory away from an elusive world title, the statement is rather damning. The remarks were scathing, to say the least.
In a television show, the former left-handed opener and a pivotal contributor to Pakistan’s sole World Cup victory said that Sarfraz Ahmed has not attained something special; the victories have been engineered by some forces. He further went on to say that he knows the actual capabilities of the players.
The insinuations were rather serious and with them coming from someone who had captained Pakistan did not go down well with the cricket fraternity. At a time when this young team is a victory away from an elusive world title, the statement is rather damning. The remarks were scathing, to say the least.
He said “Sarfraz, you haven’t done anything; you were made to win these matches. You have been sent her for a purpose … I won’t name the sources.”
Not only the vibrant Twitter community but ex-cricketers and PCB bigwigs reacted to the allegations. Shoaib Akhtar took to Twitter to record his protest.
“I am shocked to learn about da comments made on Sarfraz today my request-2 all Pak-to support your team and back them up whether they win or lose,” he tweeted in response to Sohail’s comments.
Am shocked to learn about da comments made on Sarfraz today my request-2 all Pak-to support your team&back them up whether they win or lose.
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) June 16, 2017
The Pakistan Cricket Board vociferously reacted to his remarks via a press release. “Despite comments of “a frustrated former cricketer” the entire nation wholeheartedly supports captain Sarfraz Ahmed and his team before “the most important match faced by Pakistan in over two decades.”
Many believe that former cricketers are gunning for the team to lose so that they get more mileage out of criticizing the condition of Pakistan cricket.
“There’s no support, there’s no structure, there’s no first-class cricket, they don’t have international cricket back at home, and just see who they have beaten: South Africa, Sri Lanka, and England to get to a Champions Trophy final.”
Former Indian legends in Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh took serious exceptions to Sohail’s comments, terming them as “ridiculous”.
“It must be stupid. Ridiculous!” Ganguly responded to a question regarding his views on Sohail’s remarks.
“Somebody who has played the game for his country and captained it should appreciate the way they have come to the final,” the former Indian batsman said.
Ganguly further went on to praise Pakistan’s performance in the tournament despite all the odds stacked against them, saying: “There’s no support, there’s no structure, there’s no first-class cricket, they don’t have international cricket back at home, and just see who they have beaten: South Africa, Sri Lanka, and England to get to a Champions Trophy final.”
“I find it absolutely ridiculous! It shows of poor culture and taste, and I know Aamer well and he’s been a friend… but he should not be doing all of this,” the former Indian skipper iterated.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also echoed Ganguly’s remarks and criticized Sohail. “I’m sure he’s one of the more respected cricketers in Pakistan, but if you do such things where you don’t respect your own team then obviously, in the end, you are going to lose respect,” he said.
As a matter of fact, both India and Pakistan were ousted in the preliminary round of the 2007 World Cup and weak teams in Bangladesh and Ireland made the cut.
Yesterday in the television show Sohail clarified his position. He said that Pakistan is a big market for cricket so the ICC can ill-afford its degeneration. The governing body provided suitable pitches so that Pakistan can qualify and some 200 million can follow the game.
The assertion does not stand to logic since Pakistan have been constantly ousted in World events in the recent past. As a testimony, this is the first time that Pakistan has qualified for the final of the Champions Trophy since its inception in 1998.
Why didn’t the ICC realize the marketability of Pakistan throughout the past 7 events? As a matter of fact, both India and Pakistan were ousted in the preliminary round of the 2007 World Cup and weak teams in Bangladesh and Ireland made the cut.
The blithe remarks will quickly be forgotten when arch-rivals India and Pakistan lock horns to grab the coveted Champions Trophy on Sunday with more than a billion people being glued to the proceedings.