The Bhartiya Janata Party lauded Irfan and Yusuf Pathan's mother, Shamim Bano, for taking on Pakistani captain Shoaib Malik.
Malik, in a statement after returning to Pakistan following the loss to India in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup, said he was thankful to the Muslims of Pakistan and rest of the world for supporting his team in the final.
'I want to thank everyone back home in Pakistan and Muslims all over the world. Thank you very much and I'm sorry that we didn't win, but gave our 100 per cent,' Malik had said after the five-run defeat in the final.
Reacting to the statement, Bano said, 'Shoaib must have said that for his own countrymen. How can he speak for all the Muslims of the world? The way Irfan and Yusuf played for India is what matters to us. They made us proud of the way India won the Cup.'
Addressing a press conference in Delhi on Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Malik's statement was an attempt to communalise the game and create a divide between Muslims and rest of the players.
"We are indebted to mother of Yusuf and Irfan Pathan who questioned Malik's credentials to represent Muslims of the world," Javadekar said.
The Gujarat government announced a cash award of Rs five lakh each to Irfan and Yusuf while setting up a fund for sportspersons.
Cash awards will be given to Gujarat sportspersons who excel at the international level. The initial corpus for the fund is pegged at Rs one crore.
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