Former Pakistani cricketer Aamer Sohail has alleged that the Pakistan cricket team only made it to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy due to ‘external factors’, a seemingly indirect reference to match-fixing.
Sohail stated that Pakistan, captained by Sarfraz Ahmed, have no reason to rejoice after their surprising victory over England in the semi-final on Wednesday.
Talking to Pakistani news channel Samaa, Sohail said: “Sarfraz needs to be told that you have not done anything great. Someone has helped you win the game. There is no reason for you (Sarfraz) to be so happy.
"We all know what happens behind the scenes. Don’t wish to get into the details on who won them the games. If asked, I will say that the prayers of the fans and God have won them the games. They have been brought to the final due to external factors and not based on on-field performance. The boys now need to be level-headed and focus on playing good cricket.”
Sohail’s comments drew the ire of former Pakistani cricketer Basit Ali, who told Pakistani channel ARY News that Sarfraz’s captaincy was one of the biggest reasons behind Pakistan making it to the final.
“I don’t know why he 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,” Ali said before going on to add that Sarfraz would not be bothered by such claims against him.
In the face of widespread backlash, Sohail later tried to claim that the video was out of context and he had spoken before the semi-final clash between Pakistan and England.
Pakistan will face India in the much-hyped final on Sunday having already lost to the Men in Blue by 124 runs when the teams faced off in a Group B encounter on 4 June.
India are two-time champions at the Champions Trophy while Pakistan have made their first foray into the final of the competition.
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Updated Date: Jun 16, 2017 15:17:50 IST