Why was Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s call to bat first against India ignored ? - GulfToday

Why was Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s call to bat first against India ignored ?


Imran Khan with the World Cup 1992 trophy.

India beat Pakistan by 89 runs via the DLS method in Sunday's World Cup showdown between the arch rivals in Manchester.

Here AFP Sport looks at the key aspects of a game that saw India improve their unbeaten World Cup run against Pakistan to 7-0.

Prime minister's call ignored Nobody ever dared to question Imran Khan's decisions when he captained Pakistan during an illustrious career that ended with World Cup triumph in 1992.

But many wondered why the Prime Minister's tweets were ignored by the current Pakistan side, led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, after he advised the team to bat first if they won the toss at Old Trafford.

Imran sent out a series of messages on Twitter to convey that Pakistan should elect to bat unless there was moisture on the pitch.

Sarfaraz can take refuge in the fact that even India captain Virat Kohli admitted he would have bowled first had he won the toss.

But India's total of 336 was too much for Pakistan to chase and the big loss that followed left everyone pondering over Imran's advice.

"All fears of losing should be banished from the mind as the mind can only process one thought at a time," tweeted Imran Khan, who led Pakistan to victory at the 1992 World Cup.

"Fear of losing leads to a negative and defensive strategy & crucially mistakes by opponents are not pounced upon."

Recalling his cricketing career, Khan — one of the greatest all-rounders in the game's history — said: "I assumed success was 70 per cent talent and 30 per cent (in the) mind.

"By the time I finished playing cricket I felt it was 50-50 ratio. But now I tend to agree with my friend (Indian batsman Sunil) Gavaskar it's 60 per cent mental strength and 40 per cent talent."

Imran said mental pressure would be a key factor in Sunday's clash and he had some advice for Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

"In Sarfaraz, we are fortunate to have a bold captain and today he will have to be at his daring best," said Imran Khan.

"In order to have a winning offensive strategy, Sarfaraz must go in with specialist batsmen. Unless pitch is damp, Sarfaraz must win the toss & bat."

Imran added: "Finally, even though India may be the favourites, banish all fear of losing. Just give your best and fight till the last ball. Then accept whatever the result like true sportsmen."

Sharma packs a punch:

India's Rohit Sharma comes with a reputation of getting big hundreds and he did not disappoint with his second century of the tournament.

The opener nicknamed 'hitman' started cautiously but soon gained momentum against a Pakistani attack that lacked sting apart from speedster Mohammed Amir.

Sharma found excellent support from KL Rahul, who did not let India feel the absence of injured opener Shikhar Dhawan, as the duo put on 137 runs.

Sharma's deft late cuts and some effortless hits, including a six at backward point off paceman Hasan Ali, brought back memories of the stroke-making of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

He was finally out while trying a paddle shot over short fine leg, but his 140-run knock, laced with 14 fours and 3 sixes, had put India in pole position.

Amir holds his own:

Mohammad Amir is a left-arm quick who has the responsibility of carrying a rich legacy of Pakistan pacemen.

Amir has more often than not delivered on the big stage and once again he carried Pakistan's main threat against India with little support from the other end.

He bowled fast and swung the white ball to trouble the Indian batsmen despite getting warned twice for running on to the pitch early in his spell.

The 27-year-old, who spoke of taking inspiration from memories of his late mother who passed away in March, returned figures of 3-47 including skipper Virat Kohli's prized scalp.

But the quick, who returned to the game after serving a four-year fixing ban in 2016, still ended up on the losing side.

Yadav spins a web:

Many pundits, including India legend Sunil Gavaskar, wanted fast bowler Mohammed Shami to make the Indian team in place of spinner Kuldeep Yadav for the Pakistan game.

But it was Yadav's left-arm wrist spin that proved key in India flattening the Pakistan batting by taking down their two top batsmen.

He got Babar Azam bowled on a tossed up delivery around the off stump that turned sharply to rattle the stumps and deny the batsman his fifty.

Opener Fakhar Zaman was done in on another turner by Yadav, with fellow spinner Yuzvendra Chahal taking a simple catch at short fine leg.

Virat Kohli has often called his two wrist spinners "world class" and the 24-year-old Yadav justified his captain's faith with figures of 2-32 from his nine overs.

Fans add to the spectacle:

  From 800,000 ticket applications for the Old Trafford showdown, 26,000 lucky fans from India and Pakistan filled the packed stadium and made the day their own with music and revelry.

Blue remained the dominant colour in the Sunday blockbuster as chants of 'India, India' reverberated in the air and the Indian tri-colour fluttered at every boundary and wicket.

But Pakistanis made their presence felt by cheering their team on with shouts of 'long live Pakistan'.

The fan of the day was a Pakistani supporter who turned up at Old Trafford riding a white horse.

Even the intermittent spells of rain did not dampen the spirits of the raucous crowd that added to the spectacle of a rivalry that drew an estimated television audience of over one billion.

Agence France-Presse

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