Commenting on the incident which happened yesterday, prompting a furious Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi to walk out of a press briefing in Lahore, after a spat with a journalist, Mumbai-based model and actress Arshi Khan said, the media should not be rude and careless while addressing a senior player.
Speaking to news agency in Mumbai, Arshi Khan said:
“Shahid Afridi is a very senior and good player. He has personally performed very well during all the recent cricket tournaments. It is a different matter that Pakistan did not win the recent Twenty20 series. While I understand the media has a right to question, media persons should not be rude, in sensitive or misbehave with a senior cricketer like Afridi. Just because you have a boom or press card, does not give you the right to counter question someone as though you are an expert in the game. I challenge the journalist from Dunya News, Sanaullah Khan to take a bat and walk to the crease. If he can stay put for even 3-4 balls, he has a right to counter question Afridi in the way he did. It is very easy to speak and criticise, but to actually perform and handle the mantle of responsibility, is a different thing all together.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi cooled down later and defended himself on Thursday after a row with a television journalist that prompted the media to briefly boycott coverage of an ongoing training camp, saying he “always respects others”.
Afridi was asked by Dunya News journalist Sanaullah Khan at the camp in Lahore on Wednesday how he would improve his captaincy after a recent 3-0 loss against England in the United Arab Emirates saw Pakistan plummet to sixth in the world Twenty20 rankings, from a high of second.
According to PTI, a miffed Afridi retorted: “I expected you to ask such a pathetic and low question, someone ask the next question please.”
The dismissive reply on live television ignited anger among journalists, who boycotted the remainder of the planned events on Wednesday and demanded an apology.
On Thursday, Afridi defended himself and accepted responsibility for the humiliation in the UAE.
“I always respect others and demand the same from others,” he said.
“It’s under my captaincy that the team rose to number two but we made basic errors to lose against England and that affected our rankings.”
Team manager Intikhab Alam managed to pacify the media, who returned on Thursday to cover the final day of the camp.
“I have talked to Afridi and he has reiterated that he respects the media, so hopefully such an incident will not happen again,” Alam said on Thursday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said the incident should not be blown out of proportion.
“It should not have happened,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told media. “We will look into it but don’t take it as something big.”
Afridi has led Pakistan since Mohammad Hafeez stepped down in 2014, winning six of the last ten matches.
Pakistan will fly to New Zealand on January 10 to play three Twenty20 matches and as many one-day internationals, the first in Auckland on January 15.
Afridi said he was sure the players would improve their rankings during the tour.