ICC World Twenty20: I was only trying to give a positive message, says under-fire Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi
Afridi says that he made a positive statement on behalf of his country.
New Delhi: Pakistan cricket team skipper Shahid Afridi on Tuesday said that he did not intend to demean his nation and was merely trying to give a "positive message" by showing respect to the fans here.
This comes after the veteran cricketer had earlier said that the team gets more love in India than his own nation.
In an audio statement posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on its Twitter handle, Afridi has clarified that one should look at his comments in a positive manner and that his whole identity comes from Pakistan.
"I am not just captain of the Pakistan cricket team but I am representing all the Pakistani people here and I think if one looks at my comment in a positive way then it is obvious that I did not mean to say that anybody else would matter more to me than Pakistani fans. My whole identity comes from Pakistan," Afridi said.
Afridi also said that he made a positive statement on behalf of his country.
"I think I made a positive statement on behalf of my country but if somebody looks at it negatively, he would get a negative message. But my intention was positive," he added.
Afridi went on to add that former Pakistan legends like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Inzamam ul Haq will say that they too got of respect here in India.
"Whether it is Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Inzamam ul Haq, they will also say that they get a lot of respect here because cricket is literally worshipped in India. You can even ask Imran bhai, cricket is a religion here,” added Afridi.
Pakistan play their opening tie of the ICC World Twenty20 against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Afridi has been criticised for the statement made on Sunday with former captain Javed Miandad calling it shameful.
The flamboyant all-rounder has also been issued a legal notice in Lahore for his comment.
Earlier, Pakistan arrived later than scheduled in India owing to security concerns.