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‘Educated nations should not follow India’ : Shahid Afridi

(UTV | PAKISTAN) – Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi has been left disappointed after New Zealand’s decision to abandon their tour of Pakistan. Afridi said what New Zealand have done is ‘unforgivable’ for Pakistan as the Black Caps pulled out of the tour without waiting for the country’s security forces to assess the situation in the host nation.

New Zealand decided to not take the field in the first ODI against Pakistan in Rawalpindi on September 17. Hours before the start of the game, the entire tour was called off citing a security threat to the Kiwis. Afridi believes instead of deciding to call off the tour, New Zealand should have discussed the situation with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“We all know that there is a huge amount of scrutiny when it comes to arranging tours. Proper investigations are conducted by the security members of the touring nation. The routes are defined and only when the process is completed, that is when the teams are given the green signal to visit the country,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.

“New Zealand cricketers are loved in Pakistan and for them to do something like this is unforgivable. If there was any potential threat, they should have been shared with the PCB and waited for Pakistan’s security forces to assess the situation,” the former Pakistan cricketer added.

Days after New Zealand abandoned their tour of Pakistan and returned home, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also announced the withdrawal of England’s tour of Pakistan. ECB confirmed that it won’t be able to honour its commitment of sending its men’s and women’s teams to Pakistan.

Afridi, who is known for making absurd remarks against India, has once again stirred controversy with his latest comments. Reacting to reports that the email which prompted New Zealand to cancel their tour of Pakistan, originated from India, Afridi made an absurd remark stating that India is after Pakistan but other ‘educated nations’ should not make the same mistake.

“If you have to look at the bigger picture then I think we need to take a decision which shows the world that we are also a country and we have our pride. It’s ok if one country is behind us but I don’t think other countries should also make the same mistake. They are all educated nations and should not follow India,” said Afridi.

Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry had claimed the email which raised the security threat issue with New Zealand cricket, was sent from India through a VPN using Singapore’s location.

Afridi went on to claim that Pakistan had once toured India despite getting threats. He also cited the example of Pakistan’s tour of England post the COVID-19 lockdown last year and asserted that cricket should be used as a tool to improve relations between two countries and not worsen them.

“Instead, cricket should improve relations. Situation was bad in India. We were getting threats. Our board asked us to go and we went there. Similarly, during Covid-19, the situation that there was in England, the cricket went on. If you trust false e-mails and cancel tours then I believe you are offering them fodder to win. This is not the right way,” Afridi added.

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