Afridi issues clarification after 'loved more in India than Pakistan' statement lands him in hot water

Published: March 15, 2016
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Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi gestures as he addresses media representatives at a press conference at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on March 13, 2016, ahead of the World T20 cricket tournament. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi gestures as he addresses media representatives at a press conference at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on March 13, 2016, ahead of the World T20 cricket tournament. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan T20 captain Shahid Afridi on Monday clarified his “more loved in India than Pakistan” statement after he landed himself in hot water.

In a bid to tone down the controversy regarding his statement, Afridi clarified he didn’t mean any disrespect to Pakistani cricket fans. “I was only trying to send a positive message in a diplomatic way,” the 36-year-old explained.

“Whatever I am today, is only because of Pakistan and the fans in Pakistan. Nothing is more important to me than Pakistan and people of Pakistan,” he added.

Loved by Indian crowds more than ones back home, says Afridi

The all-rounder further said, “”I am not just the captain of Pakistan’s cricket team I am representing the whole country here. The one statement I gave recently should be taken as positive.”

Afridi also added that former Pakistani greats such as Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq would also say the same thing about India. “Even if you ask the former greats such was Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan they all will say the same thing. People in India worship cricket and it is like a religion here,” Afridi added.

Afridi served legal notice over ‘more loved in India than Pakistan’ statement

The veteran all-rounder caused uproar after he said crowds in India gave him more love than crowds back home. “We have always enjoyed playing in India and have been loved by Indian crowds more than crowds back home in Pakistan. Cricket has always brought people together and I think politics should be kept away from cricket,” the T20 captain said while addressing his first press conference after having landed in India for the tournament.

Afridi’s statement drew scathing criticism from some, including former skipper Javed Miandad. “These cricketers should be ashamed of themselves for saying such a thing. Shame on you!” said the former skipper.

Pakistan ready for World T20: Afridi

The 58-year-old said Pakistan should focus on cricket rather than pander to the hosts. “What have the Indians given us? Speak the truth even while in India. For the last five years what have they given us or done with Pakistan cricket? Having served Pakistan cricket for so many years, I am shocked and hurt to hear such comments from our players,” he said. “The job of this team is to go and play well in India, not make such unnecessary comments.”

The 36-year-old was also served a legal notice on Monday by Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Saddiq. The notice pointed out that establishing diplomatic relations or otherwise is the duty of the government and not of a player, adding the Pakistan team captain should not have issued such a statement.

The 2009 World T20 champions will kickoff their campaign against Bangladesh on Wednesday, March 16 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Umer
    Mar 15, 2016 - 12:22PM

    Dont worry Afridi.. We are the experts of Making a mountain out of a molehill.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Mar 15, 2016 - 12:25PM

    he must have prepared his statement after the world cup.
    ” see, we were under immense pressure from media and public after my press conference before the world cup”Recommend

  • Hatim
    Mar 15, 2016 - 12:50PM

    It’s all about the sponsorship money. Recommend

  • Mar 15, 2016 - 1:54PM

    Afridi was not fully prepared for the press conference in India. I think PCB should make arrangements to give media handling training to captain and management. Players from Pakistan faced additional pressure because their English speaking skills are unsatisfactory.

    Pakistan cricket board need to take this matter seriously and give proper guidelines to captain to avoid similar incidents in futureRecommend

  • ramallah khan
    Mar 15, 2016 - 2:03PM

    Afridi saab we all love you at home. We know your feelings are genuinely not to hurt Pakistanis but to send a positive message of promoting peace and cricket between both the countries. Surprising Javed Miandad is asking for an apology from you when he should be doing the same for having dinner with Bal Thakaray at his residence in Bombay and praising him. In fact all Pakistani people want Javed Miandad to apologies to the country for this act of his.Recommend

  • TiffinBox
    Mar 15, 2016 - 2:43PM

    Miandad “What have the Indians given us? For the last five years what have they given us or done with Pakistan cricket?”, typical pakistani mindset.

    Why do you expect everyone to give you something? Work on your own and stop expecting free tickets.Recommend

  • kilo
    Mar 15, 2016 - 2:54PM

    Afridi for once you said the right words. We are all with you because we also love our next door neighbor india/Indians, self appointed so called patriotic thekedars of Pakistan notwithstanding. Recommend

  • pakistani
    Mar 15, 2016 - 3:18PM

    “I was only trying to send a positive message in a diplomatic way,”
    stop being a diplomat and do your job and that is cricket what you are paid for. Well, you are very bad at that too.Recommend

  • Prada
    Mar 15, 2016 - 3:48PM

    India gives love and gets hate in return.Recommend

  • Rahul
    Mar 15, 2016 - 4:01PM

    @Khurrram Zia Khan: “Players from Pakistan faced additional pressure because their English speaking skills are unsatisfactory.”

    Afridi made the aforementioned statement in Hindi/Urdu.Recommend

  • Dr.M.M. Khan
    Mar 15, 2016 - 4:06PM

    It is just a storm in a tea cup. Concentrate on the job at hand . Appearing in front of the media can be addictive. Leave it to the manager!Recommend

  • Farru
    Mar 15, 2016 - 4:36PM

    Miandad’s reaction is too much. I am not a fan of Afridi and I also know that his statement was extraordinary while addressing a press conference in India.

    But this doesn’t mean that PCB should go after him and call for a clarification on a such pity issue. Recommend

  • tatvavetta
    Mar 15, 2016 - 5:09PM

    Yes, he is the same Afridi who said Some time back that “Indians are small hearted people”
    in an interview to Pakistani media. Browse thru old videos and you will find it. Afridi has behaved differently in past in India. For example he has used foul language interspersed with curse word not considered worthy of a gentleman. There are such cricketers in all teams including India.Indians enjoy cricket a lot more and they are fans of great cricketers irrespective of their nationalities.That is why Javed Miandad, Denise Lily, Rawalpindi Express,
    are all popular in India in spite of their rowdy behaviour at times. These cricketers experience an overwhelming affection in India not so common elsewhere. Afridi’ expression seems little too diplomatic to both Indians and Pakistanis it should not be taken too seriously by anybody. We night expect a very opposite reaction from Afridi in near future depending on circumstances. Presently all should expect some very thrilling and enjoyable cricketRecommend

  • brar
    Mar 15, 2016 - 5:19PM

    @ramallah khan: Khan Sahib you are right, I am an Indian and even I hate the Thakaray clan and their so called party Shiv Sena and majority of Indians think so about them, they blackened the face of a senior BJP leader when former FM kasoori visited Bombay for the launch of his book and they always issue hatefull statements and though Javed Sahib is great cricketer but he choose to visit Bal Thakaray house and was photographed with his family.Recommend

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