NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s Saud Shakeel, a key batsman for the national team, lamented the absence of passionate Pakistani supporters in their recent World Cup clash against arch-rivals India. Reflecting on their disappointing defeat, Shakeel highlighted the added pressure the team faced in the high-stakes match.
The Pakistan cricket team faced a heavy seven-wicket defeat at the hands of India on Saturday at Ahmedabad’s colossal 132,000-capacity stadium.However, the noticeable absence of Pakistani fans was a significant factor that contributed to the team’s performance.Babar Azam‘s team slumped from a solid 155/2 in the 30th over to be dismissed for a paltry 191.

Shakeel stated, “I think we were under extra pressure, so we tried to get out of that and wanted to play shots.”

The stadium saw only a handful of Pakistani supporters, mainly expatriates from the United Kingdom and the United States, as supporters from Pakistan faced significant challenges in obtaining visas for the event.
In response to these visa-related issues, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) lodged an official complaint with the world governing body. The delays in visa processing have also affected the presence of Pakistan’s media contingent in India.
The PCB also expressed concerns about what they described as “inappropriate behaviour” exhibited by Indian fans towards the Pakistan squad during the Ahmedabad game.

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Indian fans in the stands celebrate after third umpire confirm the wicket of Pakistan’s Saud Shakeel. (Reuters Photo)
“When you have your crowd, then you get the support. We did not get that, and it was not in our hands,” Shakeel added, underlining the role of fan support in boosting the team’s morale.
Despite the loss to India, Pakistan remains in a competitive position in the tournament following wins against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. Shakeel has been a notable performer, contributing 68 against the Netherlands and 31 against Sri Lanka, though he was dismissed for just six against India.
The team’s focus now shifts to their upcoming high-profile match against five-time champions Australia in Bengaluru on Friday. Shakeel emphasised the importance of learning from their previous mistakes and staying focused on the next challenge.
“The mistakes we committed in the last game, we must overcome them. That match is gone. If we win against Australia, then our position will get better,” he said. “Australia are always good in the World Cup. They are a very good side. We know our strong areas, and we must play good cricket.”

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While most of the Pakistan players, except Mohammad Haris, participated in training in Bengaluru, the team continues to grapple with health concerns. Haris is still recovering from a fever that affected several squad members when they arrived from Ahmedabad. Star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi and opener Abdullah Shafique, who were among the players who fell ill, were present in the nets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as they prepare for the challenging clash with Australia.
(With inputs from AFP)

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