Under-fire Afridi clarifies `love for India` comments

Kolkata, Mar 15 (ANI): Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has sought to clarify his comments he made after his side’s arrival in India for World T20, which attracted severe criticism from some of his countrymen.

The flamboyant all-rounder remarked that Pakistani players received more love from Indian fans as compared to their Pakistani counterparts, which drew scathing comments especially from former skipper Javed Miandad.

Afridi, however, clarified that he just wanted to send a positive message, insisting that cricket has helped improve strained relations between both the nations many times.

“I am not just the captain of Pakistan’s cricket team I am representing the whole country here,” Afridi was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“The one statement I gave recently should be taken as positive. I did not mean to say that someone is dear to me more than Pakistan people. My identity and everything I have belong to Pakistan,” the T20 captain said while addressing a press conference after winning a warm-up match against Sri Lanka.

“I just wanted to say that whenever we are here [in India] we always enjoy (it). Even if you ask the former greats such was Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan they all will say the same thing. People in India worship cricket and it is like a religion here.

“I just wanted to give a positive message to the world in a diplomatic way that we people love cricket and want to play it but if someone will take it as a negative comment he will draw a negative conclusion too,” he added.

Earlier, Miandad said that Afridi should be ashamed of himself for such comments, adding that he was shocked and hurt to hear such remarks from his country’s players.

Pakistan will take on Bangladesh on Wednesday before facing fierce rivals India in the group stage match three days later at the same venue.

Pakistan’s match against India was initially scheduled to be held in Dharamsala but was moved out to Kolkata due to security concerns. (ANI)

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