Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf became a butt of jokes on social media after he made “shameful” and “bizarre” comments against India.
Zaka Ashraf, previously associated with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), fueled angry reactions from Pakistanis and Indians after he called India a “Dushman mulk.”
Such a shameful remark by Zaka Ashraf. India warmly welcomed Pakistan team and this moron quoting India in bad words at crucial moment of #CWC23.
He surely need to change his supplier (drugs). https://t.co/rPpoQ3YXZe pic.twitter.com/9pn52k5kjT
— Shany (@shany_w56) September 29, 2023
— Sohaib (@Sohaib_Iqbal_) September 28, 2023
After their flight landed in Telangana's capital, the Indian fans showered Babar Azam and his colleagues with a lot of love as whistles and chants filled the arena.
Subsequently, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, and fast bowler Shaheen Afridi praised the Indians for the hospitality they have been receiving in India.
Notably, the Pakistani cricket team is touring India for the first time since 2016, when they were in the neighboring country to participate in the T20 World Cup.
Bilateral cricketing ties between the two South Asian neighbors remain suspended due to tensions between their political leadership over the issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
Despite the frosty state of affairs between the two nations, the Indians welcomed the Pakistan cricket team with open arms. Even their captain, Babar Azam, earned rich plaudits for being the No.1 batter in ODI cricket.
But PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf presented his frivolous thinking by calling India an “enemy state”.
“Shame on PCB chairman for calling India “Dushman mulk despite a warm welcome from them, Zaka Ashraf is the real Dushman of our team. Dear Indians don't take him seriously, he is just a political tout that's why he was made chairman,” a Pakistani fan commented.
“Shameful Statement from Zaka Ashraf We troll Indian Cricketers, journalists and fans just for fun but it doesn't mean we hate them & at least India isn't my Dushman Mulk. Peace and love for everyone,” another opined.
“Being a Pakistani & a cricket lover I strongly condemn the reckless statement of Zaka Ashraf, he is a stooge of politicians, He sounds ignorant when he says “Dushman Mulk” & those who are defending him are duffers. PCB should apologize even if it's a slip of tongue,” a third remarked.
“When everything was going smoothly with PCT in India suddenly Zaka Ashraf thought to ruin it with the unnecessary point of ‘Dushman Mulk'. Man be professional, they are on national duty keep this dirty politics aside,” a fourth stated.
“One side, the Pakistan cricket team received an enthusiastic welcome in India. On the other side, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf termed India as “Dushman Mulk” (enemy country). So, no matter what we do, Pakistan's mentality & agenda is clear,” an Indian supporter mentioned.
“No ball Mr Chairman. Your players were given a warm reception by the Indians and you are barking up the wrong tree. It seems he himself is a ‘dushman' of his own Pakistani players,” cricket journalist Vikrant Gupta underlined.
With his comments resulting in a massive backlash, Zaka Ashraf took a U-turn on his remarks, with the PCB issuing a clarification on his behalf on Friday.
“Zaka Ashraf personally congratulated the Indians over arranging a reception of this kind. He mentioned that whenever India and Pakistan step onto the cricket field, they emerge as traditional rivals but not as enemies,” the PCB said in a statement.
“Zaka Ashraf expressed his hope that throughout the entire World Cup, Pakistan cricketers would receive the same warmth, and Indian fans would get to see the best cricket from Pakistan players,” the media release from the PCB added.
Meanwhile, former India opener Gautam Gambhir backed Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, the top-ranked batter in the 50-overs format, to set the World Cup on fire.
“Babar Azam has every quality to set this World Cup on fire. I have seen very few players who have so much time. Yes, there are Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, David Warner, Kane Williamson and Joe Root but Babar Azam has a quality of a different level,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports.
Babar Azam and his boys will begin their World Cup journey against the Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on October 6.
The India-Pakistan game dubbed the mother of all matches, will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14.
Pakistan squad for Cricket World Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir.