Salman Butt
Salman Butt. (Image- AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has defended Team India who have been bombarded with the contemptible ‘C’ word – Chokers, following their loss in the ICC WTC final to New Zealand last month. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the senior Indian men’s side in ICC knockouts.

After winning the 2013 Champions Trophy, the Men In Blue lost the final of the 2014 T20 World Cup to Sri Lanka, the 2015 World Cup semifinal against Australia, the 2016 T20 World Cup semifinal against West Indies, the 2017 Champions Trophy final to Pakistan, 2019 World Cup semifinal to New Zealand, before losing another ICC knockout to New Zealand, this time in the Test format.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo: Twitter)

South Africa were termed chokers because they frequently lost big matches: Salman Butt

Initially, this term Chokers, which is much used on social media by fans and former cricketers rather than by current cricketers, was used for South Africa as the Proteas made a habit of losing important tournament matches for years.

The South Africans last qualified, and lost, in an ICC tournament knockout was in the 2015 World Cup, losing to the Kiwis in the semis. Since then, this tag has been associated with the Indian team as they fail to clear the final or semifinal.

Salman Butt, however, doesn’t believe that India should be chastised with the Choker tag. He pointed out that even New Zealand have lost two consecutive World Cup finals – in 2015 to Australia and then in 2019 to England – but still, they don’t get any flak for that.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

The former Pakistani opener further asserted that India have won three ICC titles under MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli has captained the side in only three ICC tournaments so far. Thus, Salman Butt feels, it’s a bit unfair to term the Asian giants as perennial Chokers.

“India don’t have a long history of not winning an ICC event. Under previous captain MS Dhoni, India won the Champions Trophy (2013), the World T20 (2007) and the 50-over World Cup (2011). Recently, India played the World Test Championship (WTC) final and the 2019 World Cup semi-final. They have been almost there among the world’s Top 2 teams. So, the frequency of India’s losses is not that much to term them as chokers,” Salman Butt said in his YouTube video.

“Look at the number of semi-finals New Zealand have played in the World Cup. They have played two finals as well (2015 and 2019). Nobody called them chokers. South Africa were termed chokers because they frequently lost big matches. They went down in a lot of finals and crunch games. That isn’t the case with India as yet,” he added.

India will have the opportunity to end their ICC title drought this year in the T20 World Cup in the UAE.

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