Pakistan vs India: Silencing the match-fixing rumours
There is absolutely no doubt that bookies influence these matches, but that doesn't mean every match is fixed.
The match-fixing rumours started spreading after India’s victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup match that took place on March 18, 2012. The match was played in its real essence - a typical Pakistan-India match that contained everything: high scores, long partnerships, centuries, nervousness, misfielding, bad shots, huge sixes, all round performance by the top performers of both the sides, two heroes, two villains from both sides, tense captains and a nerve-wracking experience that a match between arch-rivals usually instigates.
But still, they say, it was fixed and their reasons are:
- Cricketing authorities want a Pak-India final, to earn millions of dollars and India’s defeat would not have served this purpose
- Bookies are behind all of this; they needed to raise the “bar”
- Pak-India matches cannot be clean (semi-final of World Cup 2011 and quarter-final of World Cup 1996 are the best examples)
- To maintain India’s supremacy at the highest level and the list goes on…
There is absolutely no doubt that bookies influence the matches which are being played in South Asia. They have a special interest in the matches that are either played in India or with India. But it does not essentially mean that every single match between India and Pakistan is fixed.
There are a few very important reasons to support the point I am making here, such as:
- It was a ‘must-win’ match for India to reserve a seat in the final. They were more composed and willing to win
- It was not a ‘must-win’ match for Pakistan as they had already secured their position in the final; hence, they were casual and unprofessional on the field
- Indian batsmen do not perform under pressure but everyone, from Sachin to Dhoni, was focused and desperate to win
- The body language of Pakistani players on the field remained negative from the third over till the end
- Pakistani bowlers were overconfident because they had already done a great job in the tournament and against India in the previous game (World Cup semi-final)
- Getting Wahab in after a year on the basis of a performance he gave against the same team a year earlier was not a professional approach. Pakistan had to pay the price
- Indian batting was underrated and the overconfident Pakistani bowlers, due to a lack of planning against Sachin, Kohli and Rohit, were visibly short of ideas when they were being bashed.
- No one understood Misbah’s change in the bowling line; why Hafeez was changed after an outstanding opening over; why Ajmal was brought in so late and was not used when Kohli was struggling at the start; why Misbahul Haq didn’t have frequent enough meetings with seniors and ex-captains like Younis and Afridi to handle Sachin, Rohit and Kohli etc, and why his approach was so defensive and negative that changed mode of the game, were swerving on the minds of Pakistani fans is beyond me
- Above all, it was Kohli’s day as he was unstoppable in front of bowlers like Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi and even Mohammed Hafeez. Kohli played a brave innings that deserved a victory. His approach to the match was far better than Sachin’s.
So the well-deserved ‘pat-on-the-back’ should go to the Indian team, especially Kohli, but the real question here is: will Pakistan win the final?
Hopefully, having learnt their lesson right before the final, Pakistan will win. They should come up with a better strategy under Whatmore’s aggressive coaching. This time around their batting excelled, but they were unable to defend their score on the field, but fighters like Ajmal, Gul, Afridi, Hafeez and the talent like Cheema can change the face of the game in one spell at any point in the game.
As the skipper properly stated;
“I think our bowling has won us a lot of games. If you look at the performance in the last year and a half, they have done really well. It was a test against India, so such a day was possible.”
Our bowling attack will bounce back at the final and Pakistan will win the cup. Go green!
Read more by Ahmad here.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Sachin Tendulkar was nearing his 100th century in this match.