In preparation for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Zaka Ashraf clarified his stance on India, emphasizing that India is a “traditional rival” and not an “enemy.” The clarification comes in response to a viral video where Ashraf referred to India as the “enemy country” while discussing new contracts for Pakistani players.
Ashraf, in a statement released by the PCB, expressed appreciation for the warm reception the Pakistan cricket team received upon their arrival at Hyderabad Airport for the World Cup on September 27. The statement highlighted the love and support demonstrated by the people of both countries towards each other’s players.
“The Pakistan men’s cricket team’s fantastic reception in India for the World Cup demonstrates how much love the people of both countries have for each other’s players.” The reception prepared at the Hyderabad airport demonstrated this devotion,” the statement read.
Ashraf emphasized that when India and Pakistan engage in cricket, the public perceives them as traditional rivals rather than enemies. He stressed the historical warmth and cordiality with which both teams have welcomed each other in their respective countries.
“When India and Pakistan play cricket together, they do it as historic rivals rather than as enemies. In the past, the Pakistan men’s cricket team has always been welcomed in India with open arms, just as Indian teams have been in Pakistan,” the statement read.
The controversy arose from a video where Ashraf, discussing new player contracts, stated, “My goal was to maintain the spirits of our players while they travelled to participate in other nations, including the so-called “enemy country.”
As the World Cup approaches, Pakistan will play their opening match against the Netherlands on October 6 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.