The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Pakistan team coped up with some heavy criticism in the aftermath of the heavy defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India, veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has come out in their defence. Pakistan had a dismal day at the office on Sunday as India trounced them by 89 runs (DLS method) in a lopsided contest. While this famous fixture has always given the cricketing world some classic matches, the latest was a disappointing one.
Pakistan never looked like the team to challenge India in Manchester. Despite winning the toss, they were on the back-foot throughout the game. India did not look back after their openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul added 136 runs for the first wicket. The Men in Blue went on to make the most of the solid start and post a big total of 336 for 5. Rohit top-scored for his side, scoring 140 while Rahul and Virat Kohli scored fifties.
Pakistan failed with the bat too. Chasing an improbable 337, the reigning Champions Trophy holders collapsed to 166/6. A rain delay then saw their target revised to another 136 runs required from 30 balls – a near-impossible task. They eventually finished on 212 for 6 to suffer their seventh consecutive defeat against India in the World Cup.
Unsurprisingly, the Pakistani fans have come down hard on their players. The fans are slamming the players not only for their performance but also the lack of dedication. In the wake of the defeat, several photos and videos emerged on social media, showing the players having burgers just hours before the game against India. One video also showed Shoaib Malik, Imam-ul-Haq and Wahab Riaz in a shisha lounge at 2 AM the night before the match.
You put in the work and you get the rewards
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke had a different opinion. The World Cup-winning skipper said that Pakistan players need to introspect and find out the reason behind the poor displays.
“At the end of the day you put in the work and you get the rewards. If you don’t then you don’t get the rewards. Pakistan has to look at why they are underperforming in this World Cup. Whatever the reason, whether it’s training or the right squad, preparation. At the moment they are not playing well enough. They are a better team than how they are playing,” Clarke said.
While the Pakistani fans are criticising their players, Harbhajan Singh has defended them. The legendary spinner said that the players are allowed to eat whatever they want. He also refused to accept that diet should be blamed for their performance on the field. “They are allowed to have burgers, it’s their wish what they want to do,” Harbhajan told India Today.