Waqar Younis apologizes for his 'namaz' remarks
Former Pakistan cricketer Waqar Younis has apologized for his remarks that Mohammad Rizwan offering namaz on the ground "in front of Hindus was very special to him." Waqar took to Twitter and offered an apology for his controversial remarks. Waqar commented this on a show after India were beaten by Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup. He faced backlash on social media.
Waqar took to Twitter and apologized, saying it was a genuine mistake. He also said sports unites people regardless of religion. "In the heat of the moment, I said something which I did not mean which has hurt the sentiments of many. I apologize for this, this was not intended at all, a genuine mistake. Sports unite people regardless of race, color, or religion."
Waqar said the best thing Rizwan did was offer namaz on the ground. "The manner in which Babar and Rizwan batted, sensible yet aggressive, the strike-rotation, the look on their faces, it was amazing. The best thing, what Rizwan did, Mashallah, he offered the Namaz on the ground surrounded by Hindus, that was really something very very special for me," he said.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle, expressed his disappointment and tweeted, "For a person of Waqar Younis' stature to say that watching Rizwan offering namaz in front of Hindus was very special to him, is one of the most disappointing things I have heard. A lot of us try hard to play such things down and talk up the sport and to hear this is terrible."
Replying to Harsha, sports presenter Mandira Sawhney Lalvani said she wasn't surprised. Mandira said she remembered meeting Waqar in 2009 during the Women's World Cup in Australia and the former was already speaking the same language as Harsha mentioned on Twitter.
- India and Pakistan have been feuding neighbors since the 1947 partition and sports is one of the rare spaces where the two share a cordial relationship.
- Indo-Pak ties have further soured since the 2019 Pulwama terror attack and recent cross-border transgressions.
- Younis' comments have hence hit a nerve.
- Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi's 2018 comments on Kashmir belonging to Pakistan had also sparked controversy.
India were off to a torrid start after Pakistan elected to field. Shaheen Afridi removed both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in quick succession. Virat Kohli played a captain's knock, having received some support from Rishabh Pant in the middle. India managed 151/7 in 20 eventually. Pakistan comfortably chased the total, with Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam slamming fifties.