Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar has come to the defence of Sania Mirza, saying the Indian tennis star is unlucky to find herself in the firing line of fans every time arch-rivals India and Pakistan play an international match.
Sania is married to former skipper Shoaib Malik, who is currently a part of Pakistan's cricket team competing in the ongoing World Cup in England.
"She is so unlucky that whatever she does she gets unnecessary criticism from either Pakistan or India, and that too for no rhyme or reason. If Pakistan loses a match she is targeted because her husband plays for Pakistan," Akhtar said on his Youtube channel.
Several fans targeted Sania in social media after a video and pictures of her enjoying a late dinner with her husband Shoaib along with Wahab Riaz and Imam-ul-Haq went viral.
Pakistan suffered their seventh defeat to India in the World Cup, going down this time by 89 runs in a rain-hit match last Sunday.
"If she has gone to be with her husband and if she has gone out with him to have dinner...she has just had a child...what crime has she committed?" Akhtar questioned.
The controversy even forced Malik to come out with a message in his Twitter handle, pleading people to not target his family.
The Pakistani media has reported that Sania and Shoaib had also taken their son late night to the Sheesha café, which many claimed in the mainstream and social media was on the night before the match against India.
The Pakistan Cricket Board then clarified that the video was two days old, as Shoaib and Sania and other players went out to the cafe for dinner on June 13 and not June 15 night.
Akhtar expressed disappointment that just because Pakistan lost its World Cup match to India, Sania was unfairly targeted.
"How can you point fingers at a person's family or personal life? Who gives you the right to do this? Just because you have a Twitter handle or social media account doesn't mean you can point fingers at anyone's family," Akhtar said.
"I really feel sorry for her. If she has gone to be with her husband or gone out for dinner what has that got to do with performance. Did she tell him (Shoaib) not to perform? How are performances and having dinner related."
Akhtar said he was hurt by the stupid comments and mentality of the people on social media about players.
"I feel sad because why can't players go out to a late night dinner even if there is a match the next day as it is 12 o clock is the curfew time."
Pakistan actress Veena Malik was among those who had hit out at Sania for having dining with her husband and new-born son.
Sania also reacted strongly to the comments, making it clear no one has the right to firstly record the video or interfere in her personal life or question how she raised her son.