Time and again, the likes of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Virat Kohli have reiterated that the game between India and Pakistan is just a contest between bat and ball. However, the way Pakistani fans have reacted in the wake of their team’s defeat to India last Sunday, one can say that the fans hold a different view about this celebrated fixture.
Pakistan failed miserably against fancied India as the latter registered a comprehensive and easy 89-run win (DLS method). While Pakistan did win the toss, they could not really make the most of it. Sarfaraz Ahmed surprisingly decided to bowl first and regretted it soon as India piled up 336 for 5. Rohit Sharma starred with the bat, scoring 140 while KL Rahul and Virat Kohli scored fifties.
In reply, Pakistan ended up on 212 for 6 in 40 overs. Barring the brief period when Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam were batting, Pakistan never looked in contention to chase down the big total. It was Pakistan’s seventh consecutive loss against India in the World Cup. And as soon as the game ended, their fans made life difficult for the players on social media.
Some fans also targeted players publicly. Recently, a video emerged, showing the fan body shaming Sarfaraz Ahmed in public. The fans have not even spared the players’ families while expressing their disappointment over the defeat.
Ahead of the crucial clash against South Africa, the Pakistan skipper looked broken as he expressed his disappointment over the treatment dished out to the players.
“Social media and media are not in our control,” Sarfaraz Ahmed said at Lord’s. “They are so big that you cannot stop them. Teams have lost before but now on social media it is unstoppable. Whoever thinks [anything, they just] write it on social media. That hurts, too much. Players are affected psychologically.
“Criticise us on our game, that’s not an issue, but don’t abuse us. Their families get affected. If someone is hitting, then pushing anyone that’s not good. Our fans are emotional and these same people lift us when we win. But if they feel sad on a defeat we also feel the same way. We feel it much more because we are playing for Pakistan,” he added.
Pakistan, meanwhile, only have 3 points from 5 games. A loss against South Africa will all but end their chances of progressing ahead.