He asserted Pakistan were going to play the final: Harbhajan recalls when Akhtar wanted tickets for 2011 World Cup final
India’s 2011 World Cup win is still remembered fondly by the fans of cricket. Led by MS Dhoni, India defeated Sri Lanka to lift the World Cup after a gap of 28 years. India also became the first country to win the tournament at home. Dhoni’s six off Nuwan Kulasekera in the 49th over of the final is a moment that is still etched in the memories of Indian cricket fans.
Before facing Sri Lanka, India had faced Pakistan in the semi-finals of 2011 World Cup. The arch-rivals were in great form leading up to the match and both nations eyed a spot in the finals. It was eventually India who managed to trump Pakistan by 29 runs to book their tickets for the final in Mumbai.
However, Harbhajan remembered a moment before the match where Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar asked him to arrange tickets for the semis and finals. This is how Harbhajan responded after Akhtar asserted that Pakistan were going to play the final in Mumbai.
"Shoaib Akhtar told me the night before the match that he wants some tickets for his family and relatives from Pakistan. So I said no problem, and I called PCA (Punjab Cricket Association) and somehow arranged some four tickets for him. When I went to give them to him, he said 'It will be great if you can arrange four tickets for the final as well,” Harbhajan said in an interview with Sports Today.
"I asked what he would do with them. He asserted that they (Pakistan) were going to play the final in Mumbai. I replied 'If you are going to Mumbai, then where are we going? India will play the final, and you should come and watch. I will give you four more tickets as well, no problem, you come and comfortably spectate the game.'"
While remembering the 2011 World Cup final, Harbhajan termed April 2, 2011 as the "most important day" of his life.
"Unbelievable, 2nd of April, that day was the most important day I would say of my career, of my life. I was watching my dreams come true, the way the love was flowing, everyone had a smile on their face and was swaying with happiness. It was not just our win, it was India's win," the veteran spinner said in a video posted by his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders.