Curated By: Aakash Biswas
Last Updated: September 18, 2023, 15:34 IST
Team India emerged as the ultimate winner of the Asia Cup 2023 after thrashing Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the final on Sunday at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. As the men in blue clinched a record eighth title triumph, former captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar came down hard at those who alleged that India deliberately wanted to lose their second Super Four game against Sri Lanka to evict Pakistan from the tournament.
The clash between India and Sri Lanka last Tuesday was one of the most competitive games played in the Asia Cup 2023. The Lankan spinners took all 10 Indian wickets but the batters couldn’t provide a desired start in the chase of 214. Rohit Sharma & Co faced stiff competition from the hosts before closing the game with a 41-run win which helped them qualify for the final.
However, a section of cricket fans, especially from across the border, claimed on social media that India wanted to lose the game to knock Pakistan out of the tournament. Gavaskar, in his latest column for the SportStar, lashed out at the ‘brainless’ people who came up with such baseless theories.
“What a tight slap on the faces of all those across the Western border who were screaming and shrieking that Bharat after being dismissed for 213 against Sri Lanka was purposely losing the game so as to deprive Pakistan of a place in the final. Did these brainless people even think of the possibility that after Bharat loses the game to Sri Lanka and then Pakistan beat Sri Lanka and the Bharat v Bangladesh game gets rained off, it was Bharat who would not have qualified for the final? So why would Bharat lose deliberately to Sri Lanka? Morons,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
The batting legend further recalled Team India’s game against England in the 2019 World Cup – the only encounter India lost in the Round Robin stage before a close defeat against New Zealand in the semi-finals knocked them out.
Chasing 338 to win, India needed 71 off the last five overs with MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav at the crease. The former wicketkeeper-batter scored 42 runs from 31 deliveries while Jadhav got 12 off 13, picking up just 20 singles in the last 31 balls. India lost the game despite having 5 wickets in hand while Dhoni was accused of losing the game intentionally.
Highlighting the same, Gavaskar urged the noise makers to uplift their own game and make a mark.
“A similar conspiracy theory was propounded when Bharat lost to England in the group game of the 2019 World Cup. The allegations were that MS Dhoni, of all people, deliberately batted slowly. Those who know MSD will vouch for the fact that he likes to take the game deep and then go bang-bang. England bowled superbly so he couldn’t do it then, but the morons thought it was done deliberately to deny them a place in the semi-finals,” he added.
“Let’s be frank and understand that when it comes to the World Cup teams, they would do anything to ensure they get to the final. That said, why depend on another team for your team’s progress? Why don’t you win all the games and win the tournament yourself instead of pointing fingers at any other team? It must be galling to depend on Bharat to qualify for the knockout stages of a tournament,” he further wrote.