Karachi: After the humiliating defeat by India, Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi appealed to the citizens of Pakistan not to hate India and Indian cricketers.

Afridi made these comments after returning from a high voltage cricket clash between the two rivals in the Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-finals. The match was closely contested and India won narrowly in the end.

The Pakistani captain after his arrival in Karachi from Mohali, on Thursday, apologised to his nation for losing the World Cup semi-final to India, but praised his team for playing beyond expectations in the tournament. He had also made it a point to wish India “all the best for the final”.

However, the Pakistani media continued to harp on the enormity of the defeat as it was at the hands of India and continued to pose disturbing questions to Afridi, like, “What would be Pakistan’s game plan to defeat India when they play each other the next time around?”

Afridi’s candid reply, “I don’t know why we are against India so much. I don’t understand the mindset of people here, why are we so opposed to India? ….Why is there so much hatred against India, are there no other teams?”

“If that’s the case then why are so many Indian TV soaps watched in every household here… our marriage rituals are so very similar to theirs… lot of Indian movies are being watched here, then why is this hatred for India, why only with India?,” he retorted back.

Trying to soothe frayed nerves, Afridi said, “Everything should be taken in its correct context. Cricket is a sport and should be taken as a sport,” while also expressing confidence that Pakistani team will beat defeat all top teams of the world in the future.

At his combative best, Afridi trained his guns on Interior Minister Rehman Malik for his pre-match “warning” to players to stay away from match-fixing.

Pakistan lost to India by 29 runs while chasing 261 in the World Cup semi-finals on March 30.

(Agencies)