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Ex-Pakistani Cricketers Hit a New Low: Kamran Akmal, Ijaz Ahmed, Umar Akmal and Salim Malik Embarrass the Nation

If you thought Pakistan’s on-field performance was embarrassing, wait till you see what the former cricketers are up to off the pitch. They’re practically in a race to out-embarrass the current squad. Whether it’s their social media antics or their TV appearances, these ex-players, including Kamran Akmal, Ijaz Ahmed and more, are desperately clinging to relevance through immaturity and, sadly, even outright racism in some cases. 

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s loss to India in the T20 World Cup, former cricketer Kamran Akmal made headlines for all the wrong reasons. During a live television broadcast, Akmal made a racist remark targeting Indian bowler Arshdeep Singh, who is Sikh.

Racism

Akmal’s comment implied that Singh should not be given the ball to bowl at a certain time due to his religion, sparked outrage on social media and condemnation from various quarters. (“Kuch bhi ho sakta hai… 12 baj gaye hai… kisi Sikh ko nahi dena chaiye 12 baje over.“)

The backlash was fierce, not just from the public but also from former Indian cricketers. Harbhajan Singh, notably vocal, led the charge on Twitter, calling out Akmal’s insensitive remarks.

The ensuing social media storm pressured Akmal into issuing an apology. But curiously, his apology was directed at Harbhajan rather than at Arshdeep Singh, the actual target of his derogatory comment. This selective apology shows a disturbing reluctance to fully acknowledge and rectify his discriminatory behaviour.



Adding to his offensive comments, Kamran Akmal also took a dig at the Pakistani cricket team, stating, “Pakistan should stop playing against men’s teams in international cricket. Instead, they should play against the women of England and Australia. The team has come down to this level.

This kind of comparison is not only demeaning to the men’s team but also disrespectful to women athletes. It implies that women’s cricket is somehow inferior, which is a blatantly sexist and outdated perspective. 

And if Kamran Akmal wasn’t enough, Pakistan’s defeat against India has also sparked comments that border on ethnic discrimination. Former Pakistani player Ijaz Ahmed, speaking on national television, attributed the loss to the Pashtun players, stating, “Eighty percent of team players are Pashtuns, most of them are uneducated and villagers; the only exposure they have is to go to mosque, thus they cannot bear the pressure resulting in defeat.”  

Neither the host nor the panellists questioned these remarks. This raises serious concerns about the presence of ethnic bias and racism in the discourse surrounding the team’s performance.

Topless Shenanigans

We are all aware of the antics of Pakistani cricketers who are no longer getting selected on social media. Umar Akmal took to social media and posted shirtless pictures of himself captioned, “Attention please, this is for those who think I am unfit.

The images have received mockery and memes on social media. Not to take anything away from Umar Akmal’s cricketing career, but having played his last match for Pakistan in 2019 and not being picked in the recent PSL either, it’s amusing that every time the Pakistani team is performing badly, he thinks he can slide back into the team.

He should be focusing on playing domestic cricket and improving his game instead of seeking attention online.

Fixing Claims by Fixers?

Adding fuel to the fire, Saleem Malik, a convicted match-fixer of his time, has also come out and accused Imad Wasim of match-fixing. Malik claimed, “You look at his [Wasim’s] innings and it appears as if he was wasting balls, not scoring runs, and making things difficult in the run-chase.

Even Adam Gilchrist, the former Australian cricketer, found these remarks ironic and expressed his surprise on a YouTube podcast. This only adds to the international embarrassment. These former cricketers are not only tarnishing their own reputation but also dragging Pakistan’s name through the mud. Instead of focusing on constructive criticism and supporting the team, these ex-players seem more interested in sensationalism and controversy. Hence, making the entire cricket community a laughingstock on the global stage.

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