Afridi defends his comments about India


Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi has been forced to clarify the comments he made about India fans loving his team, saying those who found his quotes offensive were looking to find negativity.

Afridi and fellow veteran Shoaib Malik last week said that the security issue surrounding their trip to India for the World Twenty20 was out of proportion, and that they loved playing in India.

Afridi's original comment last week was: "We have always enjoyed playing in India and have been loved by Indian crowds more than crowds back home in Pakistan."

This resulted in some former players being hugely offended, with former skipper Javed Miandad asking, "What have the Indians given us? Speak the truth even while in India.

"For the last five years what have they given us or done with Pakistan cricket?"

But Afridi said he meant no harm, and was trying to play down the security and safety aspect of the question he'd been asked. He'd wanted to emphasise the positive aspects between the countries.

Afridi said: "I am not just the captain of Pakistan’s cricket team I am representing the whole country here. 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’s people. My identity and everything I have belong to Pakistan.

"I was asked a question here in (the) media and I just wanted to give a positive reply to the people in the world who hear us. 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.

"It is the sport that many times has helped India and Pakistan in improving the ties therefore I just wanted to be positive.

"But if someone will take it as a negative comment he will draw a negative conclusion too."