On Friday (November 12), Pakistani cricket team captain Babar Azam took a U-turn after blaming fellow cricketer Hassan Ali for the match defeat against Australia during the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021.
In a video shared on the official Youtube channel of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Babar Azam was heard as saying, “We need to learn from our defeat. The unit that we created should not break. None should point fingers at each other. We did not play well as a team. One should not resort to blaming his teammates. None of you will talk negative and instead focus on the positives. Yes, we have lost. No issues. We will learn from it.”
He further added, “It takes a long time to form a unit like this. This defeat should not lead to its breakup. One loss in a cricket match should not de-motivate anyone to desert the team. I always back everyone. We have maintained a family-like atmosphere within the team. Everyone has put in effort… All of you have discharged your responsibilities in each match. This is what is expected from the team… I know everyone is unhappy but this is temporary.”
Although the Pakistani skipper appeared seemingly understanding and supportive towards all team members, this was however not the case on Thursday (November 11) night. Babar Azam was quick to throw his fellow teammate Hassan Ali under the bus after the match loss.
“The turning point of the match was the dropped catch of Matthew Wade. A new batter coming in then and it would have been a different scenario and maybe a different result. As a player, you should always be on your toes and take any opportunity that arises,” Babar Azam had remarked.
Hassan Ali put up a poor show against Australia during the semi-final match. He had conceded 44 runs in 4 overs, with the Australian side hitting him for 4 fours and 1 six. Despite an economy rate of 11 per over, he failed to get any wickets. He gave 15 runs in the 18th over and dropped the crucial catch of Matthew Wade in the 19th over, which proved to be a gamechanger for Australia. Wade went on to smash 41 runs in just 17 walls to lead his team to a comfortable victory.
Although Babar Azam has now resorted to ‘damage control’ mode, Opindia had earlier reported how Hassan Ali was vilified for being a Shia Muslim by many in Pakistan. He was subjected to a flurry of personal comments, charges of match-fixing, derogatory remarks about his mother and Indian-born wife.
Given that Pakistan is a Sunni-majority country, Islamists do not leave any chance to abuse the Shia community for any misfortune that befalls the country. Following Pakistan’s humiliating loss to Australia, conspiracy theories about Hassan Ali being a Shia (and hence losing the match deliberately) began floating on social media.
Soon after the match loss, Pakistani cricket fans had flooded social media with hateful and abusive remarks against Hassan Ali.