PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has stirred controversy ahead of the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023 by referring to India as an “enemy country” during a press conference.
Ashraf was speaking about the new central contracts given to Pakistani players, and he said: “We have given these contracts to our players with love and affection. Never in the history of Pakistan has such a significant amount of money been awarded to players.
“My aim was to boost the players’ morale as they go to countries, the enemy country, for competitions.”
Ashraf’s comments have been widely interpreted as targeting India and have drawn criticism from Indian and Pakistani cricket fans. Many people have taken to social media to express their displeasure with Ashraf’s statements; some have even called for him to be sacked as PCB chairman.
Twitter fans react angrily
One Pakistani cricket fan commented on Twitter: “Shame on PCB chairman for calling India ‘Dushman mulk’ despite a warm welcome from them.”
Another Pakistani fan commented: “Ashraf’s comments are irresponsible and unbecoming of a PCB chairman. He should apologize immediately.”
An Indian cricket fan commented: “I’m disappointed to hear that Ashraf has called India an enemy country. This is not the spirit of cricket.”
Another Indian fan commented: “Ashraf’s comments are divisive and harmful. He should be ashamed of himself.”
The PCB has since released a statement in which Ashraf clarifies his comments. He says that he did not mean to offend anyone and that he was referring to the intense rivalry that exists between India and Pakistan.
However, many believe that Ashraf’s clarification is insufficient and that he should have apologized for his original comments. It remains to be seen whether the PCB will act against Ashraf.
The ODI World Cup is scheduled to begin on October 5, and India and Pakistan are set to face each other in a highly anticipated match on October 23. It will be interesting to see how the two teams perform in the tournament and how their fans react to Ashraf’s comments.