After Shoaib Akhtar, his former Pakistan teammate Shahid Afridi has hit back at India fast bowler Mohammed Shami's “Karma” post on Twitter after Babar Azam and company lost to England in the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne on Sunday.
Speaking on a Pakistani television channel Shahid Afridi argued that both retired and active players should avoid making controversial statements.
“We cricketers are like ambassadors. We should always try to end (the rift) that is between the two nations (India and Pakistan). I think things like these should not happen that spread hatred among people. If we do this, then the common man who is not literate and foolish, what should we expect from him? We should build relationship and sports is such a thing that will keep our relationship better with them forever. We want to play against them and want to see them in Pakistan,” Shahid Afridi said on Sama TV.
“Even if you are a retired player, you should not do such things. You are playing with the team currently, you should avoid such things,” Shahid Afridi added.
Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Shami's war of words broke out after Pakistan suffered a heartbreaking 5-wicket loss to England in the T20 World Cup final at a jampacked Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
The result left millions of Pakistan supporters and their current and former players, including Shoaib Akhtar in shock. Shoaib Akhtar even took to Twitter to display his emotions after the defeat of Babar Azam and his boys as he shared a “broken heart” emoji on the microblogging site. Shoaib Akhtar's post prompted veteran Indian speedster Mohammed Shami to respond, who blamed the Pakistan team's “karma” for their loss. “Sorry brother. It's called Karma,” Mohammed Shami wrote.
Mohammed Shami's tweet infuriated Shoaib Akhtar, who shot back at the India pacer with a screenshot of a tweet from Indian cricket pundit Harsha Bhogle.
“And this what you call sensible tweet..” Akhtar wrote on Twitter, with a picture of Harsha Bhogle's tweet which read: “Credit to Pakistan. Few teams would have defended 137 the way they did. Best bowling team.”
It is pertinent to note that Mohammed Shami's reaction to Shoaib Akhtar's tweet wasn't without a reason. The former Pakistan pacer had criticized Mohammed Shami's selection in the Indian cricket team's squad for the T20 World.
Mohammed Shami was originally not named in the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia but was included after pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was forced to sit out of the prestigious competition due to an injury.
Pakistan progressed through to the final after earning a comprehensive victory over New Zealand in the first semifinal in Sydney while England reached there by thumping India by 10 wickets at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
In the title clash, the Three Lions were just too good in all the departments of the game. Bowling first, Jos Buttler and company restricted Pakistan to a below-par total of 137/8, thanks to Sam Curran's exceptional figures of 3/12.
Subsequently, a Ben Stokes masterclass gave them their second T20 World Cup title. Ben Stokes not only remained unbeaten on 52, but he also struck the winning runs off the bowling of Mohammad Wasim on the final ball of the 19th over.
Meanwhile, former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq heaped rich praise on the Pakistan side for reaching the final of the T20 World Cup despite their defeat to England.
“The major thing was how Pakistan made a comeback in the tournament. From where they were and from where they finished was great. All credit should go to Babar Azam and his team. The best thing was that this team showed fighting spirit,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said on his YouTube channel.
“We also lost the 1999 World Cup final. I know how our days were spent post the loss. Hence, I understand what these players must be going through after the loss. But I also know the feeling of winning the 1992 World Cup. I know what it feels to win a world cup and what it feels to lose a world cup final. The public too understands this now,” Inzamam-ul-Haq added.
“It is a bit disappointing that Pakistan had a great opportunity to win the World Cup but they could not win. I must appreciate the boys. I understand the score was less than par. Pakistan played well till the 15th over. But they failed to make those extra 20-25 runs in the last five overs. I believe a score between 160 and 170 would have been a fighting total. England would have been under a lot of pressure chasing such a score,” Inzamam-ul-Haq elaborated.
“Pakistani bowlers made a fine effort. The good thing was that their body language was great. Pakistan could have won the game too. People were talking about the repeat of the 1992 world cup and I believed that Pakistan could win,” he concluded.