NewDelhi: The Virat Kohli-led Team India were stunned by arch-rivals Pakistan, who were ranked eighth in the eight-nation tournament, to lift their maiden ICC Champions Trophy title in England, earlier this year.
Defending champions India and hosts England were the favourites for the title but Pakistan, under new captain Sarfraz Ahmed, emerged as winners of a competition they entered as the underdogs.
As it turns out, former India cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri’s harsh words motivated Pakistan cricketers to do the unthinkable.
Gavaskar and Shastri weren’t ready to accept that the green shirts can put up a spirited performance, which helped the players perform exceedingly well.
“India wrote us off in the final,” Talat Ali, the former Test opener, who was the Manager of Pakistan told Cricbuzz.
“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,” Ali recalled.
Batting first, riding on Fakhar Zaman’s hundred, Pakistan amassed 338/4.
India fell 180 runs short, folding for just 158 in the 31st over, and gave Pakistan a historic triumph.
“We had quite a bit of luck. Difficult to figure out why India put us in after winning the toss. With our strong bowling attack, once we put a decent total on the board, it was going to be tough for India,” Ali went on to say.
“I am told that television channels rate India – Pakistan clash as the third biggest in the world. Football obviously takes the top spot. The coverage of that game in Pakistan was tremendous and I am sure that was the same case in India. I hope we play regularly so that the tension goes off. The more cricket we play, the better it will be. I hope the bilateral series resumes soon.”