‘In the heat of the moment’: Waqar says sorry for his ‘namaz’ comment

‘Sports unites people regardless of race, colour or religion,’ bowling legend says

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Waqar Younis’s comment drew sharp reactions from the cricket fraternity and from fans, prompting him to apologise | File Photo: PTI

Former Pakistan captain and bowling coach Waqar Younis has apologised for his ‘namaz’ remark after Pakistan’s 10-wicket win over India in the T20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday, and said he made it “in the heat of the moment”.

A day after the match, the bowling legend was invited as a guest on Pakistan’s ARY News to discuss the team’s spectacular win. During the discussion, Younis said that it was very special to watch Mohammad Rizwan offer namaz in “the midst of Hindus” during the match.

The opener had offered prayers during the drinks break.

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Younis’s comment drew sharp reactions from the cricket fraternity and from fans, prompting him to apologise.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter.

Analysts Harsha Bhogle and Aakash Chopra were among those who criticised Younis’s comment. “For a person of Waqar Younis’s 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,” Bhogle wrote.

Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer also wrote, “Absolutely vile and disgusting comments from Waqar Younis.”

Pakistan’s win ended India’s near-three-decade domination of them in the world stage. They restricted India to 151/7 after electing to field, then made light work of the target, completing the win with 13 balls to spare.

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