Asia Cup: Mohammad Hafeez feels that the main reason behind Ravichandran Ashwin not playing in recent matches against Pakistan is the 2014 Asia Cup match where Ashwin was taken to the cleaners by Shahid Afridi.
The clashes between arch-rivals India and Pakistan have been a treat for the cricket fans, all over world due to the high intensity and the cut-throat competition. The ongoing Asia Cup also lived up to the expectations of the fans and provided a wholesome entertainment in their previous two matches. In the group stage match, India prevailed over Pakistan with a five-wicket win while in the Super 4 match, Pakistan had the last laugh by five wickets. In both the matches, one thing was similar and that was the absence of India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, as he was not included in the Playing XI.
However, former Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez feels that the main reason behind Ashwin not playing in those matches is the 2014 Asia Cup match where Ashwin was taken to the cleaners by Shahid Afridi.
“I would like to thank Shahid Afridi for what he did 2014 Asia Cup. The way you smashed two back-to-back sixes on him (Ashwin), I think it is the impact of that only,” said Hafeez on a video posted on his Twitter.
In Asia Cup 2014 match against Pakistan, India had posted a total of 245/8 after being put to bat first. Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, and Ravindra Jadeja were the stars of the night as they registered their respective half-centuries and helped Team India reach a respectable score in 50 overs.
Chasing 246, Pakistan had made decent start with Ahmed Shehzad scoring 42 runs and Hafeez smashing 75 runs but they also faced some regular fall of wickets. In the last over, 10 runs were needed with Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal standing on the crease and Ashwin had come to bowl. Ajmal was dismissed on the very first ball and this brought Junaid Khan on the strike.
Junaid took a single on his first delivery and gave the strike to Afridi, who then smashed two back-to-back sixes and provided Pakistan with a one-wicket win.
Coming to the ongoing Asia Cup, India faced a five-wicket loss against Pakistan in their Super 4 clash on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium. Chasing 182, wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan as he played a knock of 71 of 51 balls. However, the impact innings came from Mohammad Nawaz who went out to bat at No.4 and the left-hander went on to score 42 runs off 20 balls.