Edited By Bharat Malhotra | | Updated: 01 Aug 2020, 03:03:00 PM IST
Ashish Nehra has revealed how Pakistani cricketers Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar helped him get tickets for the 2011 World Cup semi-finals (2011 World Cup Semifinal).
Left-arm fast bowler Nehra was part of the Indian team in that match. He needed tickets for some members of his family. Now that the match was so big and there was a lot of atmosphere about it, it was difficult for Nehra to arrange for additional tickets. But the tickets for this match at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali were helped by Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar. The two played their celebrity card, and eventually Nehra got some extra tickets.
Nehra said in a Wisden podcast that the atmosphere was no match. People from all over the world had reached Chandigarh in the hope that they would get to see a semi-final match somehow. But the match was so big that a large number of people had to return disappointed empty handed.
Nehra said, 'Everything happened very quickly. Only three days ago it was decided that Pakistan and India would have a semi-final match. I had never seen anything like this before. There were not many five star hotels in Chandigarh, there was a Mount View hotel and the teams stayed in the Taj. I saw that people were coming from America and England and they did not have tickets. '
Many big celebrities reached that match. The then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and then Prime Minister of Pakistan Yusuf Raza Gilani also came to watch the match. Nehra explained that due to celebrities from Pakistan and people from other countries, there was no space left in hotels in Chandigarh. The situation was that even the chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth did not get room.
In the semi-finals, Nehra took two wickets for 33 runs and India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs to make it to the final. This was the fifth time India defeated Pakistan in the World Cup. Nehra said that he was lucky that he had arranged tickets for his friends and family.
Nehra said, 'It was a great match for India, the atmosphere was very good. But the surprising thing was that people were standing outside the hotel and did not have tickets. To be fair, I was lucky because I had some extra tickets that I got from the Pakistani camp. I told Shahid Afridi that I want two tickets, I got them, then I took two tickets from Shoaib Akhtar. Waqar Younis was the coach. So probably I had the highest number of tickets out of 30 players.
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