Manchester: Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed has urged his fans to refrain from abuse while criticising his team’s performance in what is being seen as his first reaction to the abusive jokes that were hurled at him after his team’s crushing defeat against arch-rivals India in the ongoing World Cup.
While teammates Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Amir had requested the fans not to get personal while criticising the team, Ahmed had so far resisted a comment.
However, defeating South Africa in their next game to keep alive their chances of making it to the semifinals of the ongoing tournament, Ahmed reacted to the nasty remarks that were hurled at him.
“I can’t say anything on this. It’s not in our hands to control what people say about us. Winning and losing is part of the game and it’s not that we are the first team to have lost a match; previous teams also have faced defeats,” said the Pakistani skipper.
“Had earlier teams faced the kind of criticism that we are facing, they would have realised how much these things hurt us. Now, there is social media. People write, comment and say whatever they like. These incidents affect the psychology of the players,” he added.
The wicket-keeper batsman urged the fans to refrain from abuse while criticising. “While criticising, one most not abuse. Criticise us on our cricket but don’t get abusive with us,” he said.
Pakistan suffered an embarrassing 89-run loss (D/L method) against India at the Old Trafford in Manchester June 16. This was their seventh loss against the Men in Blue in all the editions of the World Cups.
After the defeat, the team went on to become the butt of all jokes with fans criticising the players’ fitness and their training regime.
And in a video that went viral, a Pakistani fan was even seen body-shaming Ahmed. The fan — who met Sarfaraz at a mall in London after the India match while the latter was carrying his son — called out to the skipper and asked him why he was ‘fat as a pig’.
While the cricketer chose to walk away, the man followed him and continued, saying: “You’ve become very fat, like a pig. You should diet less.”
Later following a backlash, the Pakistani fan issued an apology and deleted the video.
“I don’t know how that video got uploaded. I am very, very sorry. I myself am a Pakistani and I didn’t realise this video would have such consequences. I know you all are very angry at me. I genuinely didn’t think this issue would become so big. I had deleted the video. I didn’t know he was with his son. I also didn’t know he is Hafiz e Quran. Please forgive me if possible,” the man said in another video posted by a Pakistani journalist.