1992 WC winner's shocker! 'Muslims in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad will support Pakistan in World Cup 2023' - WATCH
Mushtaq Ahmed believes that Pakistan will receive substantial support in cities such as Hyderabad and Ahmedabad during ODI World Cup 2023 owing to the sizable Muslim population in those areas.
Former Pakistani leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed has stirred controversy with his recent comments regarding the national team's participation in the upcoming 2023 World Cup in India. As a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning squad, Mushtaq believes that Pakistan will enjoy substantial support in cities like Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, primarily due to their significant Muslim populations.
The Pakistan cricket team, led by captain Babar Azam, arrived in Hyderabad, India on Wednesday and received an enthusiastic welcome from fans who chanted "Babar bhai" in honour of their skipper. Notably, Pakistan is scheduled to play its first two matches in Hyderabad before heading to Ahmedabad for a highly anticipated clash against the host nation, India.
During a discussion on the Pakistani news channel Samaa TV, Mushtaq Ahmed said, "Pakistani team is in Hyderabad and it will go to Ahmedabad where we have to play a match against India. There were a lot of issues including the visa. But we will get the support of the fans for sure, which is a good sign for us."
"Both of their cities – Ahmedabad and Hyderabad – have a very high Muslim population. This is why you must have seen the way they were welcomed outside the airport and even outside the hotel. Any of your correspondents or our player Khwaja might have covered that," he shockingly added.
The YouTube channel of Samaa TV chose not to include this particular segment of the discussion in their uploaded video. Nevertheless, the video did feature other comments made by the Pakistani panelists on related topics.
Pakistani cricket analyst Hafiz Imran said, "It is hard to expect people supporting Pakistan on the ground in the same high numbers as they were present to welcome the Pakistani cricket team in Hyderabad. This support can be just an outside phenomenon as these people like Pakistani cricketers. But when they go inside the stadium, situations are different. You must be recalling the quarter-final between India and Pakistan played in the 1996 cricket World Cup. Stadiums witnessed a pin-drop silence when the Pakistani players were playing well."
Replying to this, Pakistani woman cricketer Iram Javed said, "But, there will certainly be some people there, who will be supporting the Pakistani cricket team.” The anchor responded, “And this is exactly what we have seen yesterday."
Iram Javed added, "If we place a speaker during our practice sessions and play crowd noise in the background, it could help the team become accustomed to the atmosphere." It's worth noting that Iram Javed consistently referred to practice sessions as "drills." The term "drill" is commonly associated with the practice of military exercises conducted by soldiers in army camps.
Mushtaq Ahmed said, "As far as putting a speaker playing crowd noise sound clips on the boundary while practising is concerned, you can just practise stepping in the ground as a batsman after one of our wickets falls."
When questioned about whether he had offered this advice to the Pakistani cricket team, Mushtaq Ahmed responded, "No doubt I keep talking to the boys, and they are very clever too. But Hazrat Ali Razi Allah’s one of the quotes says that do not give advice to anyone unless he seeks one from you. So, I have not directly given this advice to the Pakistani cricket team. However, it may reach them through your program."
On Friday, Pakistan will play New Zealand in their first ODI World Cup 2023 warm-up match. However, due to lack of enough security, the match will be played behind closed doors.