Don't Blame Shahid Afridi for Pak Defeat in Twenty20 - Arshi Khan

Arshi Khan
Arshi Khan

Mumbai, Jan 7 (Washington Bangla Radio) - "It is just not right to pass all blame on the captain for a team or country's defeat in a cricket series or tournament," said Arshi Khan who immediately leapt to the defense of "good friend" Shahid Afridi who has been at the receiving end of the Pakistani press for the last two days, according to a press release.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi

Commenting on an incident which happened yesterday, prompting a furious Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi to walk out of a press briefing in Lahore, after a spat with a local Pakistani journalist, Mumbai-based model and actress Arshi Khan said, the media should not be rude and careless while addressing a senior player.

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Speaking to a news agency in Mumbai, Arshi Khan reportedly said:

"Shahid Afridi is a very senior and good player. He has personally performed very well during all the recent cricket tournaments. It is a different matter that Pakistan did not win the recent Twenty20 series. While I understand the media has a right to question, media persons should not be rude, in-sensitive or misbehave with a senior cricketer like Afridi. Just because you have a boom or press card, does not give you the right to counter question someone as though you are an expert in the game. I challenge the journalist from Dunya News, Sanaullah Khan to take a bat and walk to the crease. If he can stay put for even 3-4 balls, he has a right to counter question Afridi in the way he did. It is very easy to speak and criticise, but to actually perform and handle the mantle of responsibility, is a different thing all together. Afridi has personally played a brilliant series and cannot be attributed all the blame," Arshi Khan said.

Arshi Khan
Arshi Khan

Arshi Khan  was quick to support Shahid Afridi on the issue. "He (the journalist) should understand a player's mentality. You cannot blame one player for an entire sequence of events. Shahid Afridi has led Pakistan to victory in six out of ten matches, played so far during his captaincy which is a good record," she said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi cooled down the next day and defended himself on Thursday after a row with a television journalist that prompted the media to briefly boycott coverage of an ongoing training camp, saying he “always respects others”.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi

Afridi was asked by Dunya News journalist Sanaullah Khan at the camp in Lahore on Wednesday how he would improve his captaincy after a recent 3-0 loss against England in the United Arab Emirates saw Pakistan plummet to sixth in the world Twenty20 rankings, from a high of second.

According to PTI, a miffed Afridi retorted: “I expected you to ask such a pathetic and low question, someone ask the next question please.”

The dismissive reply on live television ignited anger among journalists, who boycotted the remainder of the planned events on Wednesday and demanded an apology.

On Thursday, Afridi defended himself and accepted responsibility for the humiliation in the UAE.

“I always respect others and demand the same from others,” he said.

“It’s under my captaincy that the team rose to number two but we made basic errors to lose against England and that affected our rankings.”

Team manager Intikhab Alam managed to pacify the media, who returned on Thursday to cover the final day of the camp.

“I have talked to Afridi and he has reiterated that he respects the media, so hopefully such an incident will not happen again,” Alam said on Thursday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said the incident should not be blown out of proportion.

“It should not have happened,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told media. “We will look into it but don’t take it as something big.”

Afridi has led Pakistan since Mohammad Hafeez stepped down in 2014, winning six of the last ten matches.

Pakistan will fly to New Zealand on January 10 to play three Twenty20 matches and as many one-day internationals, the first in Auckland on January 15.

Afridi meanwhile, said he was sure the players would improve their rankings during the tour. Both the team management and Afridi afterwards sought to play down the controversy, but media persons in Pakistan were in no mood to relent.

(Disclaimer: Based on a press release; WBRi is not affiliated with the source of this press release and has not independently confirmed the information stated here.)