Former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar criticized those who believed India deliberately aimed to lose their Super 4 match against Sri Lanka. He strongly rebuked anyone who believed that India had intentionally underperformed to prevent Pakistan from reaching the final.
India secured their eighth Asia Cup title, but the match against Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage proved to be a nail-biter. Despite facing a scare from Sri Lanka, India managed to win the game by 41 runs. India was bowled out for 213. During the second innings, they had to deal with a counter-attacking partnership by Dhananjaya de Silva and Dunith Wellalage. Some individuals, particularly those across the border, were quick to suggest a ‘conspiracy’ to eliminate Pakistan from the tournament.
Gavaskar dismissed these outrageous allegations and criticized those who entertained such ridiculous notions. Following Pakistan’s official exit from the tournament, Gavaskar expected further conspiracy theories, but he remained unsurprised when Pakistan and its media directed their anger toward captain Babar Azam instead.
In his column for Mid-Day, Gavaskar delivered a scathing rebuke.
“What a sharp slap in the face of those who were shouting and yelling that Bharat, after getting 213 against Sri Lanka, was deliberately losing the match to keep Pakistan out of the final. Did these mindless individuals ever consider the possibility that if Bangladesh won their game against Bharat and Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka or Bharat lost its game against Bangladesh due to rain, India would not have advanced to the finals. Why then would Bharat want to lose to Sri Lanka? Morons,” he wrote.
Gavaskar recalled a similar incident during the 2019 World Cup when accusations of foul play had tarnished Indian cricket. In that tournament, India, already through to the semifinals, played their last league game against England. A defeat for India would result in Pakistan’s elimination from the tournament. India’s batting during the game raised eyebrows as Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni appeared to prioritize run rate over winning. Gavaskar urged Pakistan to focus on improving their game instead of pointing fingers.
“In the World Cup’s group stage, when India lost to England, they faced a similar conspiracy allegation, with some claiming that MS Dhoni, of all people, deliberately batted slowly. People who are familiar with MSD may confirm the fact that he enjoys taking games to the deep before exploding. They thought it was done deliberately to deny them a place in the semi-finals, but he couldn’t do it then because England bowled superbly,” he added
“Let’s be honest and acknowledge that teams will stop at nothing to advance to the World Cup final. Having stated that, why base your advancement on a different team? Instead of criticizing other teams, why not win every game and the competition? Depending on India to advance to a tournament’s knockout rounds must be frustrating,” he concluded.