Conspiracy theorists Basit Ali, Sarfraz Nawaz see something wrong with India’s win over South Africa
India beat South Africa by 130 runs in Melbourne on February 22. (Source: Reuters)
India’s terrific start in the World Cup has led to many conspiracy theories being hatched in Pakistan. The usual conspiracy theory brigade of Pakistan comprising of former batsman Basit Ali and former paceman Sarfraz Nawaz are at it again. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
Immediately after India’s resounding 130-run win over South Africa, Basit Ali, on a Pakistan news network implied that the Proteas were under pressure of the Indian Premier League (IPL). An impression gained currency that Basit Ali had hinted at some foul play.
Similarly, Nawaz said on a Pakistani channel that the pitches are deliberately being designed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to suit India’s strengths.
But on Wednesday, Basit Ali, while speaking to indianexpress.com, sought to clarify his comments and suggested that he meant that IPL pressure was in a positive way.
“I meant it in a positive way about the impact of IPL on India’s cricket. The improvement in India’s cricket because of IPL has been tremendous. South Africa were under pressure because India knew their weaknesses. Some of their players are playing for Bangalore, Chennai. So everyone knows everyone,” said Basit Ali.
However, Nawaz stuck to his guns as he insisted that the MCG pitch, where India played South Africa, was tailor-made for MS Dhoni’s team.
“It was a batting pitch which also aided spinners. It was tailor-made for India. But look at the pitch for Pakistan’s match against Zimbabwe, it was uneven. Pakistan got to play on an under-prepared pitch. This is all happening in front of you,” said Nawaz in a chat with indianexpress.com.
Nawaz, once one half of a great bowling partnership with Imran Khan, has since turned into the enfant terrible of Pakistan cricket. His pet project nowadays is to allege foulplay at any given instance with all his talk veering to the match-fixing angle.
“I suspect the India-South Africa match for fixing. The body language of the South African players did not seem good. They did not try to win. De Villiers got run out, but he did not dive. I suspect something wrong there.
“Umpiring in the India-Pakistan match was biased too. Umar Akmal was not out, even the commentators kept shouting about it,” added Nawaz.
However, Basit Ali continued to count the benefits of the IPL. “India was losing in Australia. But look at Virat Kohli and Umar Akmal. They started at the same time. How many centuries each do they have now? Similarly India’s fielding has improved because the likes of Jonty Rhodes come there. Earlier you (India) never had 145 kmph plus bowlers, now you (India) do. This is all because of IPL.”
According to Basit Ali, the Indian players are not only gaining on cricketing matters, but also financially. “Players are learning to handle fame and pressure. An average player becomes famous and is able to earn enough to run his house. You are getting new players every year because of IPL and your domestic cricket. We have a shortage of talent here. Hopefully after the World Cup, an operation will start to set things right.”
Basit Ali is now hoping Pakistan players too get a chance to play in the IPL like others, so that they improve as cricketers. “We are losing out big time because of this. Hopefully with your Prime Minister reaching out to our Prime Minister, there will be an window of opportunity.”
But the usually trigger-happy Nawaz says he is resigned to the fact that India will continue to be in prime position in world cricket affairs.
“Like we have America in world affairs, it is India in cricket. This will continue. Even England and Australia dance to India’s tunes. Nothing much can be done,” concluded Nawaz.
Source:: Indian Express