'Traditional rivals, not enemies': Zaka Ashraf takes U-turn on 'dushman mulk' remark, PCB issues clarification
The PCB made a statement after Zaka Ashraf said something hurtful about India after Pakistan's World Cup players landed in the country
Arriving in India, the Pakistani cricket team was greeted with enthusiasm by Babar Azam's team as they get ready to compete in the 2023 World Cup, which kicks off on October 5.
A large crowd gathered at the Hyderabad airport on Wednesday when Pakistan's team touched down in India, chanting the names of the players, especially Babar.
Shortly after the team arrived in India, Zaka Ashraf, the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), caused controversy by allusively referring to India as the "enemy nation."
The players' wage raise was announced by the PCB on the same day of their arrival. After that, Ashraf said that the players would have more incentive as they got ready for the World Cup in a nation that some people saw as a "enemy" because of the increase in central contracts.
Fans on both sides of the border sharply criticised Ashraf for his remarks, and late on Friday, the PCB and BCCI (per PTI) clarified their positions in response. Ashraf mentioned that Pakistan's outstanding reception in India demonstrated the great love that supporters on both sides have for the players.
"The reception set up at the airport in Hyderabad was proof positive of this devotion. Zaka Ashraf personally commended the Indians for organising such a gathering. He remarked that when India and Pakistan take the cricket pitch, they do so as long-standing rivals rather than as adversaries, according to the statement.
"The Chairman Management Committee also emphasised that the cricket match between India and Pakistan is regarded as more significant than other matches in this sport because it has always been the focus of attention from around the world."
Because of the strained relations between the two nations, the two teams compete against each other in ICC competitions and the Asia Cup. That being said, the guys get along well with one another. At the airport in Hyderabad, Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf were blown away by the warm reception.
On October 14, Ashraf is anticipated to attend the highly anticipated India vs. Pakistan match in Ahmedabad.
"The Chairman Management Committee also emphasised that the cricket match between India and Pakistan is regarded as more significant than the other matches in this sport because it has always been the focus of attention from around the world," the statement read.
Pakistan will not win this warm-up match.
Pakistan's World Cup campaign didn't get off to the best start as they lost to New Zealand by five wickets despite batting first in Hyderabad and amassing a solid 345/5 tally.
In just 43.4 overs, New Zealand was able to chase down the mark, and their cause was further enhanced by the return of Kane Williamson. However, Williamson did not field against Pakistan and will not play in the first game of the campaign against England because of a persistent knee injury.