The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) got into damage control mode after a video of its chief Zaka Ashraf referring to India as “dushman mulk” [enemy nation] went viral on social media. A fresh statement issued by the cricket board said that the fantastic reception for Pakistan’s cricketers in India proves how much love people of both countries have for each other’s players.
The Pakistan men’s cricket team arrived in Hyderabad on Wednesday, September 27, to take part in the 2023 ODI World Cup. The players received a rousing reception at the airport, with fans loudly cheering for them.
However, almost simultaneously, a video of PCB chief Ashraf terming India as an enemy nation went viral on social media platforms. Following the backlash, the Pakistani board has come up with a new statement, praising India for the welcome they gave Pakistan’s cricketers.
“Chairman PCB’s Management Committee, Zaka Ashraf, has stated that the fantastic reception of the Pakistan men’s cricket team in India for the World Cup proves how much love the people of both countries have for each other’s players,” the PCB statement read.
“This love was evident by the reception arranged at the Hyderabad airport. 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,” it continued.
“Chairman Management Committee also emphasised that cricket between Pakistan and India have always been the centre of global attention which is why cricket between the two countries is considered more significant than the other contests in this sport,” the statement added.
Several Pakistani players, including skipper Babar Azam and star left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi, praised the Indian fans for the warm reception they received after landing in Hyderabad.
Pakistan are in India for the first time in seven years. They previously visited the country when India hosted the 2016 T20 World Cup.
Pakistan go down to New Zealand in a high-scoring World Cup 2023 warm-up game
Pakistan lost their first warm-up match to New Zealand at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday, September 29.
Babar Azam’s men batted first after winning the toss and posted 345/5. Rizwan top-scored with 103 off 94, Babar contributed 80 off 84, while Saud Shakeel slammed 75 off 53 deliveries.
New Zealand raced home to victory in 43.4 overs with five wickets in hand. Opening the innings, Rachin Ravindra top-scored with 97 off 72 balls.
Kane Williamson (54 off 50) and Daryl Mitchell (59 off 57) played impressive knocks while Mark Chapman (65* off 41) put the finishing touches to the chase.