After an embarrassing sequence of events, during and after Afghanistan’s loss to Pakistan in a thriller on Wednesday, Afghanistan Cricket put out what read like a face-saving statement
‘AfghanAtalan have always represented the Afghan Values at its very best and have truly treated cricket as a gentleman's game. We hope others will also respect the passion and dedication for the game and somehow try to spread love and devotion among nations. AfghanAtalan, Our Pride,’ Afghanistan Cricket tweeted on Thursday.
'Cricket is regarded as a phenomenon of harmony and more intimate relations between nations. Let’s work together for bringing the cricket fraternity closer. Cricket does not allow for us to show negative emotions on the field and turn the friendship atmosphere into violence.'
In two separate controversial incidents, Afghan bowler Fareed Ahmed exchanged words with Pakistan's Asif Ali after dismissing him and the situation got a little out of hand with the latter raising his bat in retaliation. Both players were separated by the Afghan fielders and the umpires.
After the match, which Pakistan won by 1 wicket, crazy scenes erupted in the stands where Afghan fans were seen hurling chairs at Pakistan supporters. People were seen breaking chairs in the stands and hitting each other.
No place for hooliganism in cricket, says angry PCB chief
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja on Thursday said there is no place for hooliganism in the gentleman's game and blamed Afghanistan fans for the off-field brawl between supporters of both the nations after a nail-biting Asia Cup match in Sharjah.
Fans of Pakistan and Afghanistan literally came to blows following the former's one-wicket win in the Super 4 match on Wednesday.
The trigger for the brawl on Wednesday was fuelled by Pakistan batter Asif Ali getter rather physical with Fareed Ahmed after the pacer's in your face celebrations following the former's dismissal.
An angry PCB chief said they would be lodging a protest over the events to the ICC and and Asian cricket bodies, including Emirates Cricket Board.
"There is no place for hooliganism in cricket. Afghanistan as a nation, team have to control their emotions if they are to progress further. It was a great match both teams fought hard but there was no need for such scenes after the match," Ramiz said at a press conference.
It was not the first time such an incident happened. The passionate fans of both teams had come to blows even during the T20 World Cup last year and the 2019 ODI World Cup.
"The visuals we saw after the match in particular are not good advertisement for cricket at all. It has happened before also not the first time it happened and that is something all cricket nations have to look at," Ramiz said.
He said winning and losing are part of a game but fans must learn to keep their emotions in check.
"We own our cricket team and our fans and that is why we will be talking to the ICC and other related bodies on this issue.”
Ramiz also praised the Pakistan team for its performances in the Asia Cup.
"I just think our team needs to stop giving so many heart attacks to us and fans. But we all know now that even if our team loses a match, it will not do so without a fight and that is what we want in our cricket," he said.
"The fans now own this team and that is what gives me satisfaction. These players have really made us proud."
The PCB chief said he would be seeking answers from the team doctor, physio and trainer on the Shaheen Shah Afridi knee injury and fitness issues and other problems during the Asia Cup.
“Nowadays in modern day cricket with the facilities available players cramping up during matches is unpardonable even if they are playing in the UAE in off-season and weather is hot. Definitely when the team returns home we will question the team management on this."
Ramiz also said that the PCB would be installing latest machines required for rehabilitation of players.
"I think this is something we should have done a long time ago. But we are getting there now."