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T20 World Cup 2021: “Better to talk about things that unite and not divide” - Salman Butt reacts to Waqar Younis controversy

Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis and Salman Butt.
Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis and Salman Butt.
Renin Wilben Albert
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Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has expressed disappointment over Waqar Younis’ controversial ‘namaz’ statement in the wake of the nation’s historic win over India in the T20 World Cup 2021 clash on Sunday.

According to Butt, such statements are not expected from certain corners but unfortunately have been made. He further urged people from both India and Pakistan to focus on positive things so that relations between the two countries can improve.

There was a massive uproar in India after Waqar, during a TV show, commented that Mohammad Rizwan offering namaz on a ground surrounded by Hindus was something "very special" for him.

Reacting to Waqar's controversial statement, Butt stated that it is very important to respect each other’s culture and not say anything that can hurt anyone’s sentiments. The former cricketer commented:

“It does not matter which country you come from, whatever your beliefs are, there should be mutual respect for each other’s culture and religion. Nothing should be spoken which hurt’s people’s sentiments and makes them feel bad. Whether it is an Indian or Pakistani player, current or ex, we should not go below the belt."

Butt further added:

"There are lots of players who have been blessed and have become superstars of the game. It is important to have a balanced mindset. You don't expect such things to be said from certain corners. Unfortunately, it has happened.”
For a person of Waqar Younis' stature to say that watching Rizwan offering namaz in front of Hindus was very special to him, is one of the most disappointing things I have heard. A lot of us try hard to play such things down and talk up sport and to hear this is terrible.

The 37-year-old also urged people from both sides of the border to discuss the good things that happened during the India-Pakistan match and leave the bad stuff aside. He added:

“It’s better to talk about things that unite and not divide. There were a lot of good things that happened during the match. People from both sides praised the good cricket that was played. Pakistan's players interacted with Kohli and Dhoni. Let’s highlight and praise the good things and ignore the bad things. We all know that in both countries someone or the other comes and says something that hurts sentiments.”

Before Waqar, Butt had also expressed unhappiness over tweets by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who were critical of those in India “celebrating Pakistan’s victory”.

Click here for the updated T20 World Cup standings.

“Genuine mistake” - Waqar Younis issues apology over controversial statement

In the heat of the moment, I said something which I did not mean which has hurt the sentiments of many. I apologise for this, this was not intended at all, genuine mistake. Sports unites people regardless of race, colour or religion. #apologies 🙏🏻

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Waqar has apologized for his controversial ‘namaz’ comment following the team’s 10-wicket victory over India in Dubai.

The former bowling coach of the national team expressed regret and tweeted:

“In the heat of the moment, I said something which I did not mean which has hurt the sentiments of many. I apologise for this, this was not intended at all, genuine mistake. Sports unites people regardless of race, colour or religion. #apologies.”

On the field, Pakistan continued their winning momentum in the T20 World Cup 2021, defeating New Zealand by five wickets in Sharjah on Tuesday.


Edited by Samya Majumdar
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