Bengaluru, June 28: Former Pakistan cricketer Basit Ali was touted to be the next Javed Miandad when he had first arrived. However, when he became history in his mid-20s, he was identified more as one who had subscribed to the Inzamam-ul-Haq school of dieting.
Basit was one of the most prolific hitter of the balls and in just 50 ODIs and 19 Tests that he had played between 1993 and 1996, he scored over 2,000 runs with two hundreds and 14 fifties. His form against the then West Indies was particularly impressive.
More than two decades since he faded away following a match-fixing scandal, Basit is back into the headlines. Recently, speaking to a Pakistani news channel, the 48-year-old claimed that India will deliberately lose to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to jeopardise arch-rivals Pakistan's chances of making it to the last four of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Bangladesh are tied with Pakistan with seven points from as many games at the moment while Sri Lanka have six from six and they will take on South Africa at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
If India lose to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in their last two matches, it will not automatically secure Sarfaraz Ahmed a berth in the semi-finals. Virat Kohli's men will play England before those two games and even a loss there will put Pakistan's chances in trouble.
The best the 1992 champions can do is to beat Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their last two league games and reach to 11 points and see how other match results go. India themselves are still a win away from confirming a semifinal spot and if they lose to England, they can't afford to do badly against either Bangladesh or Lanka in their final two games for that could endanger their own semi-final chances.
Basit even said that in 1992, New Zealand had lost their final league game against Pakistan so that they could play the semifinal on their home soil. The fact whereas is New Zealand were already the table toppers in that tournament irrespective of the result of the last match and were scheduled to play in Auckland in the semifinal. The second spot holder England were two points less than them and hence nothing would have been much different had Martin Crowe's men had won the game.
Such bizarre claims only insults teams that put up good shows on a day. As far as Basit's comments over India in this World Cup are concerned, it is clear that he is still to get over the June 16 humiliation.
The problem with the former cricketers of Pakistan is that not many give them much space to preach their knowledge about the game. Barring a few like Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja and Shoaib Akhtar, not many Pakistani formers are seen that much even during a tournament like the World Cup.
Whatever the exposure they get is in some of their country's own channels and with such limited opportunity to make themselves heard, they end up making statements more to make the headlines than anything else.