'Baat ko nation pe...': Akhtar, ex-ACB CEO exchange heavy blows after Afghan fans vandalise Sharjah stadium
Legendary fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and former Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Shafiq Stanikzai took pot shots at each other after the Asia Cup 2022 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan knocked out Afghanistan from the Asia Cup by winning the final-over thriller on Wednesday.
Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and former Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Shafiq Stanikzai have exchanged heavy blows on social media after some notorious fans vandalised the property of the iconic Sharjah Stadium. The famous cricket venue in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was reeling under chaos caused by hostile fans after Babar Azam-led Pakistan upstaged Mohammad Nabi’s Afghanistan in the Super 4 encounter of the Asia Cup on Wednesday.
Afghanistan cricket fans reportedly hurled chairs at fans and followers of the Pakistan cricket team after the thrilling contest between the two Asian teams. Some fans were also involved in scattered fist-fights outside the match venue after Babar Azam & Co. knocked Afghanistan out of the continental tournament. Tailender Naseem Shah fired back to back sixes against Afghanistan pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi to seal Pakistan’s spot in the final of the Asia Cup.
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After a video of Afghanistan fans vandalising the Sharjah Stadium property went viral, Akhtar called out former ACB CEO Stanikzai in the wake of the disturbing incident. “This is what Afghan fans are doing. This is what they've done in the past multiple times. This is a game and its supposed to be played and taken in the right spirit. @ShafiqStanikzai your crowd & your players both need to learn a few things if you guys want to grow in the sport," Akhtar said in his tweet.
Taking cognisance of the tweet shared by the Rawalpindi Express, Stanikzai lashed out at Akhtar and advised the ex-cricketer to not blame the entire nation after chaos erupted in Sharjah. "You can't control the emotions of the crowd and such incidents happened in the world of cricket multiple, you should go ask Kabir Khan, Inzamam Bhai and @iRashidLatif68 how we treated them. Am giving you an advice next time baat ko nation pe Mat lena," Stanikzai lashed out at Akhtar on the microblogging site.
Pakistan fast bowler Shah smashed successive sixes in the last over to help Babar & Co. enter the final of the Asia Cup. With the thrilling one-wicket win, Pakistan also confirmed India's exit from the Asia Cup. "When I went in to bat I had the belief to hit the sixes. I practice (hitting sixes) and I knew they would bowl yorkers as they had the field up. There needs to be belief, we keep practising in the nets and I also changed my bat, it worked," Shah said after the match. Pakistan will meet hosts Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final.