Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has bashed ex-cricketer Aamer Sohail for his controversial comments about the Pakistani side's Champions Trophy performance, calling his views "stupid" during an interview with India Today on Friday.
"It must be stupid. Ridiculous!" Ganguly responded to a question regarding his views on Sohail's remarks.
"Somebody who has played the game for his country and captained it should appreciate the way they have come to the final," the former Indian batsman said.
Former cricketer and chief selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board Aamer Sohail was recently seen criticising Sarfaraz Ahmad on TV for allegedly refusing to dedicate Pakistan's win against Sri Lanka to Javed Miandad, which came on the cricketing legend's birthday.
Ganguly went on to praise Pakistan's performance in the tournament despite all the odds stacked against them, saying: "There's no support, there's no structure, there's no first-class cricket, they don't have international cricket back at home, and just see who they have beaten: South Africa, Sri Lanka and England to get to a Champions Trophy final."
"I find it absolutely ridiculous! It shows of poor culture and taste, and I know Aamer well and he's been a friend... but he should not be doing all of this," the former Indian skipper asserted.
Accompanying Ganguly, spinner Harbhajan Singh offered his two-cents as well, stating: "I'm sure he's one of the more respected cricketers in Pakistan, but if you do such things where you don't respect your own team then obviously, in the end, you are (Aamer) going to lose respect."
Brushing aside any doubts of the comments affecting the team's morale, Ganguly said: "The likes of Sarfaraz and some of these boys are used to all this. This isn't the first time I am hearing this."
The Indian legend went on to question the veracity of the allegations: "How can Pakistan influence their qualification into a final? How?"
Adding to the interview, Harbhajan said: "I feel so bad when people work so hard and your ex-captains or ex-players talk really bad about the team."
Deploring the comments by Aamer Sohail, PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said the cricketing body is filing a formal protest with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for airing "such unpatriotic remarks", a press release stated.
The statement from the PCB said despite the comments of "a frustrated former cricketer" the entire nation wholeheartedly supports captain Sarfraz Ahmed and his team before "the most important match faced by Pakistan in over two decades."