Former Pakistan manager Talat Ali has revealed that Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri undermining the Pakistan team fired up the spirits of the players ahead of their ICC Champions Trophy final against India. Ali also acknowledged that luck had played a great part in their victorious campaign.
Pakistan’s ICC Champions Trophy win against archrivals India, earlier this year in June, will be etched in the history of cricket forever, not because of the quality of their performance that day but more so for the unlikely manner through they finished their campaign.
Entering the ten-nation tournament as the eighth-ranked team with a new captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, at the helm, Pakistan kickstarted their campaign with a heavy 124 runs loss against India. With young players like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Imad Wasim in the side, not many thought they would progress far in the tournament.
They were pitted against the then number one ranked South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka and they were hugely fortunate to beat both the other sides to enter the knockout rounds. Despite a convincing display against England in the semis, their record against India at ICC events and India’s almost flawless run had called branded them a ‘no match’ for the final game.
Ali, a former Test opener, who was the manager of the Pakistan team told Cricbuzz, how the complete undermining by the media and pundits indeed did the trick and fired up the players’ spirits. Batting first, Pakistan put a competitive target of 338 runs banding on Fakhar Zaman’s century that India couldn’t achieve. They fell 180 runs short, folding for just 158 in the 31st over.
“India wrote us off in the final. I was listening to the analysis of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri and they gave us no chance. That fired up the boys. It was called a no-contest and we were written off. We said let the bat and ball do the talking,” said Ali.
However, Ali was quick to acknowledge Pakistan’s tremendous fortune during the tournament. After a rain-washed game tilted an almost lost match against South Africa towards them and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed saw his catch dropped twice in the next match against Sri Lanka, Pakistan needed some of that in the final as well. And they got it.
"We had quite a bit of luck as I said. We were lucky in that South Africa game where we had lost early wickets and then it rained. Against Sri Lanka, we were struggling and I have no idea how Thisara Perera dropped that catch. Then in the final, Fakhar was out off a no-ball when he was on three."