War of words

'Fake Mullah', 'liar', 'sifarashi': Raja and Yousuf spar on TV

ramiz-Yousuf This combination photo shows former Pakistan cricketers Ramiz Raja (L) and Mohammad Yousuf | Reuters

Pak ex-cricketers clashed while debating over inclusion of Aamir in national team

  • Yousuf said Raja didn’t know cricket and that he was just an English teacher, who was only good at talking nonsense. Raja said Yousuf was a fake Mullah, who caused havoc in Pakistan cricket.

The debate over whether tainted left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamir should be allowed to play for Pakistan again has created a big divide in Pakistan cricket with former cricketers Mohammad Yousuf and Ramiz Raja engaging in a war of words on the issue during a TV show.

The two took digs at each other on national television during a show on Geo Super channel. The offensive exchange of words took place over the issue of Aamir with Yousuf claiming Raja didn’t know cricket, was a “Sifarashi” (one who is the beneficiary of a recommendation) player and was only good at talking nonsense.

Yousuf went one step further when he made some personal remarks against the former Test captain-turned-commentator who lost his cool on air.

It drew a sharp response from Raja who termed Yousuf, who sports a beard, as a fake Mullah who tells lies and who caused havoc in Pakistan cricket.

The clips of the exchange soon became the talk of the social media with many former players, fans and critics expressing disappointment over the language used by both former stalwarts.

Pakistan’s former Test captain Rashid Latif said what happened should never have happened and was most unfortunate. “I have played with both these players. They are looked upon with respect by the fans. It does not pass on the right message to anyone,” Latif said.

Raja has been clear about his views on allowing Aamir back into the national team.

“My views are clear to everyone but this is a decision that the Pakistan cricket board has to take and only time will tell whether they took the right decision or not,” Raja said.

“I thought the PCB could have handled the Aamir matter in a better manner,” he said.

Two of Pakistan’s senior players Muhammad Hafeez and national one-day captain Azhar Ali both refused to train with Aamir in the national training camp in Lahore but later agreed to return on the intervention of the PCB chief Shaharyar Khan.

Raja said he was happy that the matter was resolved and Hafeez and Ali returned to the camp.

“But the Aamir issue has reached a very delicate stage now.”

Responding to remarks from Yousuf that Aamir was the world’s best bowler and that someone had instigated Azhar Ali, Raja said neither was Aamir the world’s best bowler nor did anyone instigate Azhar.

“I thought they took a brave stand,” he added.

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