I was only trying to give a positive message: Afridi

Published March 16, 2016
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi walks on the field during a training session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. — AFP
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi walks on the field during a training session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. — AFP

KOLKATA: Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, under fire for saying that cricketers from his country are loved more in India, sought to douse the fire by saying that he did not intend to demean his nation and was merely trying to give a “positive message” by showing respect to the fans here.

In an audio statement posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on its Twitter handle, Afridi has clarified that he was not trying to belittle Pakistani fans during the now infamous press conference ahead of the ICC World Twenty20.

“I am not just captain of the Pakistan cricket team but I am representing all the Pakistani people here and I think if one looks at my comment in a positive way then it is obvious that I did not mean to say that anybody else would matter more to me than Pakistani fans. My whole identity comes from Pakistan,” Afridi said.

Afridi has been criticised for the statement made on Sunday with former captain Javed Miandad calling it shameful. The flamboyant all-rounder has also been issued a legal notice in Lahore for his comment.

“I was asked a question by a journalist and I tried to answer it in a positive way because I know whatever I say would be heard all across the world. So I was merely trying to give a positive message to the rest of the world that we enjoy a lot when we play in India.

“Whether it is Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Inzamam-ul-Haq, they will also say that they get a lot of respect here because cricket is literally worshipped in India. You can even ask Imran bhai, cricket is a religion here,” said Afridi.

“I think I made a positive statement on behalf of my country but if somebody looks at it negatively, he would get a negative message. My intention was positive.”

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2016

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