'There is social media. People write, comment and say whatever they like'
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed says incidents like the one in which he was compared to a 'pig' by a fan are hurtful but there is nothing he can do to prevent them and can only plead for civility in criticism.
Pakistani fans have severely criticised the national team after its 89-run loss to arch-rivals India in a World Cup encounter in Manchester.
In a recent video that went viral on social media, Sarfaraz, walking in a mall in England with his son, was stopped by a fan, who asked him why he looked like a fat pig. The fan eventually apologised for his conduct after drawing flak from all corners for targetting the player during a private moment.
"I can't say anything on this. It's not in our hands to control what people say about us. Winning and losing is part of the game and it's not that we are the first team to have lost a match; previous teams also have faced defeats," Sarfaraz said.
Pakistan have kept alive their semifinal hopes with the win over South Africa in London.
"Had earlier teams faced the kind of criticism that we are facing, they would have realised how much these things hurt us. Now, there is social media. People write, comment and say whatever they like. These incidents affect the psychology of the players," he added.
Sarfaraz is not the only Pakistani cricketer to have expressed his displeasure over abusive criticism. Senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik and pacer Mohammed Amir too had urged the fans not to indulge in personal attacks.
"While criticising, one must not abuse. Criticise us on our cricket but don't get abusive with us," Sarfaraz said.