I broke a few things in the dressing room: Akhtar on 2011 WC semi-final against India
If was ecstasy for India in 2011 World Cup, it was agony for Pakistan and even more so for cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar. The World Cup edition will forever remain as one of India's biggest achievement in this sport with MS Dhoni-led Men in Blue lifting the trophy in front of their home crowd. But for Pakistan, they had lost a big opportunity as they lost to the eventual champions in the semi-final in Mohali, a loss that Akhtar admits that it still haunts him.
Despite being in the squad and being a bowler of his stature, Akhtar was declared unfit for the big game in Mohali in the semi-final. Speaking to Sportskeeda, Akhtar recalled the decision to be immensely “unfair” from the management.
“Mohali memory haunts me...that 2011 World Cup semi-final. They should have played me, they should have. It was completely unfair from the team management. I knew that I had just two matches left and I had this desire that at Wankhede the Pakistan flag is held high and the team is plays the final. I knew that India was under immense pressure. The entire nation and the media were looking up to the team which means we were the underdogs. So I believed that we shouldn't have taken the pressure,” he said.
Akhtar said that he knew that the first 10 overs of the match would make a huge difference in the game and that had he been part of the team, he would have choked the Indian line-up upfront and dismiss their key batters in Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag early in the game.
The legendary pacer recalled the pain of watching his team lose the match from the dug-out and added that he was so frustrated at not playing the game that he broke a few things in the dressing room.
“They told me I was unfit. But I went inside, I bowled eight straight overs during the warm-up. If I played that match, no matter what the consequence would have been, I would have dismissed Sachin and Sehwag. India would have collapsed if Sachin and Sehwag were dismissed early. I was really really hurt. So see that match for 5-6 hours and watch Pakistan lose from the dug-out...I am not that kind of person who cries but I'm a kind of person who breaks things. And I did break a few things in the dressing room because I was so sad, disappointed and furious and so was the entire nation. I knew that all it mattered was those first 10 overs,” he added.
Sachin's 85 guided the team to 260 for nine before a collective effort from the bowlers folded Pakistan for just 231 runs. India eventually beat Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium to lift the elusive trophy after 28 years.