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Former Pakistan cricketer Aamer Sohail has done a complete reversal on his previous suggestions that Pakistan had reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy due to ‘external factors’ which was construed by many as that the team were gifted matches. The comments created a furore on both sides of the border as India and Pakistan ready themselves to face off in the final on Sunday at The Oval.
The comments were made after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the final group game to book their place in the semi-final against England. Pakistan then went on to beat England comprehensively to get a ticket for the final. On Friday, with voices getting louder against him, he tried to clear the air by saying that he was only criticising the captain Sarfraz Ahmed for not dedicating the win to former Pakistan great Javed Miandad whose birthday fell on that date.
“Sarfraz was asked after the Sri Lanka match whether he wanted to dedicate the win to Miandad. But I heard reports that he refused to do so and said Miandad criticises the team too much. What I meant was that Sarfraz has become captain only recently and Miandad is a very big name in Pakistan cricket. He should not have said such things. If Miandad says something, it is only for the improvement of Pakistan cricket,” Sohail told Samaa TV.
“The other thing I said was that the facilitators of the win cannot be named; however I said nothing about match-fixing or any other foul play – my statement was misunderstood. If Pakistan is winning, then why bring up references to match-fixing? I don’t know what agenda people who make such allegations are following,” he added.
“I never said that Sarfraz follows someone else’s agenda. I alone supported Sarfraz since 2015 and recommended him for taking on the captaincy of the Pakistan team. What I meant that day on your programme was that people should stop confusing Sarfraz otherwise we will see a good talent go to waste,” Sohail, former head of Pakistan’s selection committee insisted.
However, his initial comments were in sharp contrast to what he said later. “Sarfaraz needs to be told that you have not done anything great. Someone has won you these matches. You don’t have to be too happy, we all have know what happens. Don’t ask me who helped in winning these games, I will say that prayers of the fans and God have won them the games. I will not take the name of the source. They need to be told that you have not done anything special, you have been brought here for some reason. Keep calm, don’t let success get to your head. We know of your abilities, please keep quiet and play cricket.”
“If you do wrong, we will condemn it. If you do the right thing, we will appreciate you. And if you try to do the right thing in a wrong manner I will condemn that too. The players need to be focused now and play cricket,” he claimed.
The comments didn’t go down well with another former Pakistan cricket Basit Ali who told news channel ARY News, “I don’t know why he (Sohail) has made the comments, but I want to tell him that this was not the time to make such comments. His comment that there was an agenda or an external factor behind Pakistan making it to the final, is false and baseless.”
“It was due to the captaincy of Sarfraz that Pakistan won their matches. If Pakistan have defeated England, it is only due to his captaincy. If there has been a captain who has made me happy after Younis Khan in 2009, it is Sarfraz,” he added.