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“If I had played, I would have fired SRT, Sehwag” – Akhtar shares “haunting” memories of SF Indo-Pak CWC’11


India led by MS Dhoni made history by becoming the first host nation to win a 50+ World Cup in the 2011 edition in the subcontinent. Dhoni & Co. were pre-tournament favorites and beat the likes of Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and more to finish with the elusive trophy and break their 28-year title drought.

In the second semi-final, hosts India faced Pakistan led by Shahid Afridi, who entered the match without Shoaib Akhtar. Despite being in the team, the Rawalpindi Express was not named in the playing XI and was declared ‘unfit’ by the team management. Recently, Akhtar recalled the semi-final, held in Mohali, and said it was “unfair” for the team management to drop him. He further added that if he had played he would have fired India fly-half Sachin Tendulkar (who was the player of the game for his 85 chance) and Virender Sehwag (who gave the team a strong start).

“The memory of Mohali haunts me…that semi-final of the 2011 World Cup. They should have played me, they should have. It was completely unfair on the part of the management of the team. I knew that “I only had two games left and I had this desire that in Wankhede the Pakistani flag would be held high and the team would play the final. I knew that India was under immense pressure. The whole nation and the media admired the team, which meant we were the underdogs, so I thought we shouldn’t have taken the pressure,” Akhtar said in an interaction with Sportskeeda.

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“They told me I was unfit. But I went inside, played eight times in a row during the warm-up. If I had played this match, whatever the consequence, I would have dismissed Sachin and Sehwag. India would have collapsed if Sachin and Sehwag had been fired earlier. I was really, really hurt. So watch this game for 5-6 hours and watch Pakistan lose dug-out… I’m not that kind of person who cries but I’m the kind of person who breaks things. And I broke a few things in the locker room because I was so sad and disappointed and pissed, and the whole nation too. I knew all that mattered was those first 10 passes,” added the former point guard.

Speaking of the contest, India opted to bat first and rode Sehwag’s 38, SRT’s 85 and Suresh Raina’s vital 36 to post 260/9. In response, Afridi & Co. were eliminated for 231 to lose by 29 points. Later, India led by Dhoni beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the title.

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Post expires at 6:45pm on Tuesday June 21st, 2022

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