Cricket, often referred to as the gentleman’s game, has had its fair share of moments that have marred its reputation. While the sport unites nations and brings people together, it has also witnessed instances of violence, disrespect, and unsportsmanlike conduct. In a series of incidents involving Pakistani fans and cricketers, the darker side of this storied rivalry has been exposed. From shocking attacks on players to derogatory comments and online trolling, these incidents serve as reminders of the importance of maintaining integrity and respect within the game. 

Attack on Kris Srikkanth in Karachi

In 1989, cricket witnessed a chilling and infamous incident during a match in Karachi when a Pakistani fan launched a violent attack on the Indian captain, Kris Srikkanth. The horrifying episode sent shockwaves through the cricketing world, as it not only posed a grave threat to Srikkanth’s safety but also cast a long, dark shadow over the sport’s reputation. The attacker came dangerously close to stabbing Kris Srikkanth with a knife, a terrifying reminder of the dangers that such acts of violence can pose. 

Javed Miandad Picks Up a Stone Thrown at Indian Players

In 1989, during a cricket match in Karachi, Pakistan, a hostile crowd threw stones at Indian players. Javed Miandad, a renowned Pakistani cricketer, intervened. He appealed for calm and picked up a stone, using it as a symbol of peace. Miandad’s actions demonstrated the power of sportsmanship in diffusing volatile situations and sent a strong message about the importance of maintaining the integrity of the game, regardless of intense rivalries.  

Assault on Michael Bevan

In 2001, during a cricket match at Lord’s, Australian cricketer Michael Bevan was struck by a full beer can hurled by a spectator from a crowd gathered to witness the NatWest Series final presentation. Bevan, considered one of the world’s top one-day batsmen, narrowly avoided a serious injury and expressed shock at the incident. The incident marked the fourth in a fortnight of violent and unruly behaviour by Pakistani fans during cricket matches. The captain of the Australian team, Steve Waugh, warned that players were at risk of serious injury due to violent fan actions. The episode drew widespread condemnation, including from former England captain David Gower, and raised concerns about player safety and crowd behaviour in cricket. 

The Shehzad-Dilshan Controversy 

The incident involving Pakistani cricketer Ahmed Shehzad and Sri Lankan cricketer Dilshan sent shockwaves through the cricketing world, highlighting the darker aspects of the sport’s rivalry. During a match, Shehzad was seen attempting to convert Dilshan to Islam and, shockingly, followed it up with a threat of hellfire. This episode was deeply disturbing, as it demonstrated a blatant exploitation of religion as a means of intimidation, which is entirely contrary to the spirit of cricket and the principles it upholds. Cricket has long been considered a gentleman’s game, where mutual respect, sportsmanship, and camaraderie transcend nationality and individual beliefs. The incident involving Shehzad and Dilshan breached this fundamental principle. 

Mocking New Zealand’s Security Concern

In a recent incident that unfolded during New Zealand’s Tour of Pakistan in April-May 2023, Pakistani fans engaged in disrespectful behaviour by openly mocking the New Zealand cricket team with chants that centred on their security concerns. This incident occurred against the backdrop of New Zealand’s decision to withdraw from their tour of Pakistan due to security apprehensions. The actions of these fans not only displayed a lack of empathy but also demonstrated a marked absence of sportsmanship. What made this incident even more disheartening was the apparent encouragement of such behaviour by Pakistani cricketer Hasan Ali, a player who is expected to exemplify the values of respect and sportsmanship on the field. 

The ‘Baap Kaun Hai’ Incident 

After Pakistan’s victory over India in the ICC Champions Trophy final, some Pakistani fans displayed unsportsmanlike behaviour towards the Indian players, including Virat Kohli. In a video that surfaced on social media, a fan could be seen taunting and making derogatory comments towards Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, and others. The fan even questioned, “Baap kaun hai?” (Who’s your father?), provoking fast bowler Mohammed Shami‘s response before MS Dhoni intervened. The incident occurred during the presentation ceremony after the match. Such behaviour from fans tarnished the spirit of the game, as cricket is meant to be a platform for unity and respect. 

Pakistani Journalist Calls Indian Fans ‘Terrorists’

In a recent incident in August 2022, Pakistani journalist Arfa Feroz Zake took to social media to make critical remarks about Indian cricket fans. He referred to Indian cricket fans as “verbal terrorists,” implying that they engage in aggressive and unwarranted online behaviour. Additionally, Zake claimed that Indian fans are envious of Pakistani cricketers Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi, both of whom have gained prominence in the cricketing world. It’s essential to recognize that such remarks can further fuel tensions and animosity among fans. The incident underscores the need for a more respectful and sportsmanlike exchange of opinions and support between cricket enthusiasts from both countries. 

Pakistani Fan Verbally Abused Indian Players

In the lead-up to the highly anticipated 2019 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan, Indian all-rounder Vijay Shankar shared an incident where he and some of his teammates faced abuse from a Pakistani fan in Manchester. Shankar revealed that a Pakistan fan approached them while they were having coffee, hurling verbal abuse at them. Shankar described this as his first experience of the intense India-Pakistan cricket rivalry. What made the situation more challenging was that the Pakistani fan was recording the encounter, leaving the Indian players with no choice but to endure the verbal onslaught without reacting.  

Bazid Khan’s ‘Kufr Toot Gaya’ 

The incident involving the use of the term ‘kufr’ by Pakistani commentator and former cricketer Bazid Khan in a post-match presentation ceremony had triggered a controversy in the cricketing world and on social media back in 2021. While interviewing the winning captain, Babar Azam, after India’s defeat to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, Khan had remarked, “Lekin kufr to toot gaya” (the non-believers have been finally destroyed), to which Azam had responded, “All because of Allah.” This incident had raised concerns and outrage as the term ‘kufr,’ which means ‘infidel’ or ‘non-believer,’ was used during an official International Cricket Council (ICC) event, leading to accusations of a racist religious slur.

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