By OBAID UR REHMAN.
Pakistan Cricket Team is in India for ICC World T20 nowadays. Our team went on to tour India when finally all the security issues got resolved through mutual collaboration of concerned persons from both the sides. A couple of days ago, Pakistani captain Shahid Khan Afridi was addressing the press conference where he made unconsciously a bit of controversial remarks about getting love from cricket fans, after which we have witnessed a storm on electronic and social media about Shahid Khan Afridi’s remarks. Afridi stated that they usually get more love from Indian fans than Pakistani fans. After his statement, people in Pakistan became judgmental and emotional. They didn’t analyze the context in which Shahid Afridi made that statement and started bashing him in a way like he had committed a crime. Not only citizens but media persons, television anchors and ex-cricketers had also criticized Shahid Afridi in inappropriate manners.
In regard to Shahid Khan Afridi’s statement, I understand that at the first glimpse we find it a controversial statement because Shahid Khan Afridi has got immense love and respect from Pakistan and its people. But I believe that before jumping on to conclusion, we must analyze and understand the scenarios in which the statement was given by Shahid Afridi. Let’s not forget that before going to India, Pakistan Cricket Team was not even sure that either would they be safe in India or not. Let’s not ignore the facts that after reaching India, Pakistan Cricket Team had received a warm welcome by CM West Bengal, Mamata Banerje along with the President of Cricket Association of Bengal, Sauruv Ganguly. Also Pakistan cricket team was being provided with best possible security protocol by local administration. Under the circumstances when extremist groups were constantly opposing Indo-Pak Clash and threatening Pakistani players and officials, it might be possible that Shahid Khan Afridi had given this statement by having diplomatic approach or he wanted to maintain and promote the peaceful environment. Let’s not be so judgmental unless we don’t observe the overall atmosphere in which Pakistan has toured India for World T20. Apart from that, I also believe that Shahid Khan Afridi should have had used some other words before saying so. No one can ever deny that along with his performance, it’s because of fame and stardom from Pakistani people who have actually made Shahid Khan Afridi, the Boom Boom and the superstar of this nation. This is true that we, Pakistani people, got hurt with Afridi’s statement probably because we were not at all expecting such words in this manner. But yet, being as cricket fans and Afridi’s lovers, we should be okay with it as I have mentioned it earlier that giving such a statement could be diplomatic and sensible move from our captain, especially under tough circumstances.
Now let’s talk about the media which has transformed Afridi’s statement into an allegation on the people of Pakistan. Sometimes it becomes very disappointing to see the way our own media insults our own people and heroes. Media is considered to be one of the pillars of state and thus media is expected to be always sensible and realistic. Few media channels have criticized Shahid Afridi in extremely inappropriate manners without carrying out logical discussion. It was literally unbearable the way anchor-persons and panel of guests were abusing and talking about our very own star and public figure very badly. The severity was so high that even PEMRA had to issue a legal notice to a couple of news channels and a media person for violating the basic principles and rules. My point is that if you want to criticize anyone then constructive criticism should always be carried out which is considered to be the best possible mean to make someone realize. But the way our electronic and social media behaved on Afridi’s statement, it was extremely ridiculous, specially the language which was being used by our so called anchor persons. Everyone suddenly forgot Afridi’s contributions to this country and started speaking, expressing and posting against him without having any optimistic and logical approach. Do not forget that it was Shahid Khan Afridi who has turned the tables from nowhere in Pakistan’s favour a lot of times in the cricket fields, both with his bat and ball. No doubt that Shahid Afridi has been through to bad patches in his career for multiple times, but there are some reasons that the ex-greats of cricket admire his talent and abilities. Criticism should be made when someone comes out with controversial and disappointing statements, moves or performances, but hurting someone’s ego that too on illogical basis, is far against the basic moralities.
After observing such response from the nation, Shahid Afridi had to come up to justify his viewpoints and exact content in which he had said about getting love and respect from India. He quoted that Indians do not only love cricket but they worship this game, due to which he said like that. He told the press that whoever he is today is just because of Pakistan and its people. Wasim Akram, Ramiz Raja, Muhammad Yousuf, Sunil Gavaskar and other ex and current cricketers were the ones who had supported Shahid Afridi’s stance. Later then in yesterday’s game of World T20 against Bangladesh, Shahid Afridi has proved his worth once again by thrashing Bangladeshi bowlers with the bat first and then didn’t allow them to play his deliveries too, picked up a couple of wickets and ultimately won the match for Pakistan. Therefore we should always respect our legends because these legends are real reasons due to which we get recognition and name in the world outside the border line. We must remember that if any nation fails to respect its heroes then such nation won’t ever be able to register itself in the books of great nations. Apart from all the issues and concerns, let’s not forget that Pakistan team is currently playing a mega event, that too in India where fear of security threats and mishaps is always there. All we need right now is to support our team because these are not just eleven players who play in ground but whole of the nation stands behind the men in green. Our next match is against our arch rivals India and we know that Pakistan has never defeated India in the world cups. Everyone is hopeful that green shirts under the captaincy of Shahid Khan Afridi will create history this time and our green flag will wave higher on Saturday evening.
Writer is Islamabad based journalist and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org and https://twitter.com/obaidrehman1990