Amid massive backlash over his derogatory remark on Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai, former Pakistani cricketer Abdul Razzaq issued an apology on Wednesday and called it a “slip of his tongue”. Razzaq, who played 46 Tests and 265 ODIs for Pakistan, said it was not his intention to hurt anybody’s sentiments.
In a video message posted on X, Razzaq said, “We were talking about cricket, coaching and intention. It was a slip of the tongue of the kind that happened while I was giving an example to explain the situation. I wanted to give some other example but accidentally Aishwarya’s name came up. I really want to apologise for my mistake and I want to say sorry to Aishwarya. That was not my intention. I really apologise.”
— Abdul Razzaq (@AbdulRazzaq_PAK) November 14, 2023
Razzaq made the remarks when he was speaking on the Pakistan team’s performance at the ICC Cricket World Cup at an event where he was part of a panel that also comprised of former captain Shahid Afridi and former pacer Umar Gul.
At the event, Razzaq was speaking on the lack of intent among the current crop of Pakistani players when he made the Aishwarya Rai analogy.
“We don’t really intend to improve and develop the players, in my opinion. It is like if you think you will marry Aishwarya (Rai) and have a good-natured and moral child, it will never happen. First, you will have to fix your intentions,” Razzaq said. The video also showed Afridi and Gul laughing at Razzaq’s remarks.
As the video went viral, Razzaq’s comment drew widespread condemnation from former Pakistani cricketers as well as Indian politicians. “No woman should be disrespected like this. People seated beside him should have raised their voice right away rather than laughing and clapping,” former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar tweeted.
Later, Shahid Afridi also condemned the remarks, stating that he didn’t realise what Razzaq said at the time. “I laughed on stage but didn’t get what he actually said…When I returned home, I saw a video sent by someone and then I realized that Razzaq shouldn’t have said that. I felt weird…Such jokes shouldn’t be made,” Afridi told Samaa TV.
Some छछून्दरs who identify themselves as former cricketers of Pakistan made vile comments about Aishwarya Rai. All these छछून्दरs who were laughing&clapping to the comment have only exposed their pathetic upbringing. Aishwarya continues to stand tall despite& inspite their…
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) November 14, 2023
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) Priyanka Chaturvedi said the remark only “exposed” their pathetic uprbringing. “Aiswarya continues to stand tall despite and inspite their pathetic remarks,” Priyanka Chaturvedi posted on X.