Former Pakistan pace merchant Shoaib Akhtar hit out at rumour-mongers who claimed that India intentionally played poorly in their latest Super Four clash against Sri Lanka and were on the course to lose the game. After batting superbly against Pakistan in the previous clash - a game that saw the Men in Blue score 356 for the loss of just two wickets, the Indian batting order fared poorly against the Sri Lankan spinners led by a dominant performance from left-arm orthodox spinner Dunith Wellalage.
Wellalage picked up a fabulous five-wicket haul and had India staring down the barrel. It seemed India were close to losing the game but a gritty display with the ball and brilliance in the field helped them win the contest by 41 runs and seal a final berth.
Shoaib took to his YouTube channel and hit out at the people who were constantly spreading the malinformation that India were going to lose the game deliberately so that Pakistan's chances of making it to the final could get more complicated.
"I'm receiving messages that India have fixed the game, they're playing badly so that Pakistan get knocked out. Are you guys out of your mind? They're bowling their hearts out. Wellalage has bowled really well. He also scored 43. Suddenly, I'm receiving phone calls that India are losing so that Pakistan can get eliminated. Man, why would they lose? They could've reached the final with win, and they did. Absolute nonsense," said Akhtar.
Shoaib heaped praise on Wellalage for his incredible all-round display and raised concerns over the fact that the Pakistan seamers do not play enough ODI cricket.
"Wellalage, 20-year-old kid. He's bowling and batting as well. There's a fight there. I didn't see this fight in our players. See, you can't blame our fast bowlers. They don't play regular ODIs, and then, you expect Haris, Naseem, Shaheen to bowl 10 overs and not get injured. All I want is a fight from Asia Cup, at least chase 300 runs. Reach at least 275. You gave up too soon. That was humiliating," added Shoaib.