While Pakistan’s cricket team received a warm welcome in India for the World Cup 2023, a viral video of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Zaka Ashraf referring to India as an “enemy nation” has sparked controversy on social media.
The Pakistan team landed in Hyderabad on September 27 and was enthusiastically greeted by Indian fans, with players like Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi, and Mohammad Rizwan expressing their gratitude for the warm reception.
In a striking contrast, a video circulating on social media features PCB chief Ashraf making the “enemy nation” statement.
“Players hain inka morale upar rehna chahiye jab ye kisi dushman mulk ya kisi bhi jagah khelne jaayen jahan wo competition ho raha ho, to they should go with the full support of the nation aur unko ek achche tarike se perform kar saken.”
“[When the players go to an enemy country or where the competition is being held, you should support them so that they can perform well],” he said in the video.
Many social media users have criticized the PCB chief for his controversial statement, emphasizing that he should not have used the words “dushman mulk” (enemy nation).
Due to strained relations, India and Pakistan now only face each other in multinational events such as the World Cup, Asia Cup, and the Champions Trophy. The last bilateral series between the two teams took place in 2012-13.
“We want to come out as winners” – Babar Azam thoughts on playing World Cup in India
Addressing a press conference before departing for India for the World Cup, Pakistan’s captain, Babar, expressed their ambition to secure the championship title, not merely a spot in the top four. Considering the conditions in India, numerous pundits have identified Pakistan as a likely semi-finalist.
Babar commented on his team’s prospects:
“I hope we come back with a trophy this time. The top-four is a small goal for us. We want to come out as winners. We did not have enough time to put together a camp before the World Cup because we had been playing for too long continuously.”
”We wanted to give the players a break so they come back refreshed and with the hunger to win. You play well when you have that hunger.”
Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 journey commences with a game against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6.