Following backlash over the exclusion of Imran Khan from a video paying homage to country’s cricketing legends, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has released a “complete version” which prominently features the cricketer-turned-politician under whose leadership the country won its sole ODI World Cup in 1992.
The original tribute video, posted on the country’s 77th Independence Day (Monday), was widely criticised on social media and earned the PCB a ton of flak.
Wasim Akram, arguably the greatest among an entire generation of cricketers who blossomed under the tutelage of Imran, had also expressed his displeasure over the snub.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, Wasim had stated that he got the “shock of his life” after watching the video “minus the great Imran Khan”.
“Political differences apart but Imran Khan is an icon of world cricket and developed Pakistan into a strong unit in his time and gave us a pathway,” he said. “PCB should delete the video and apologise,” he said.
Separately, former fast bowler Wahab Riaz had also addressed a question about Imran’s omission from the video during a press conference announcing his retirement.
“It’s important to note that we grew up watching the likes of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Our cricketing aspirations were moulded by looking up to them,” Wahab said.
He went on to emphasise, “We cannot overlook the significance of the 1992 World Cup and its captain. His status as a cricketer will endure. We idealised him and I believe the young generation will also hold him as an ideal figure.”
After facing two days of intense backlash, the PCB finally deleted the video and uploaded a newer version that included Imran and credited him for the World Cup triumph.
In a post on social media platform X late on Wednesday night, the PCB said that it had launched a promotional video campaign leading up to Cricket World Cup 2023.
“One of the videos was uploaded on August 14. Due to its length, the video was abridged and some important clips were missing. This has been rectified in the complete version of the video,” the board said.
However, many were still not happy with the PCB’s “complete version”, with some saying that now Wasim had been excluded.
Journalist Ihtishamul Haq said that PCB had posted a second video which included footage of Imran but now excluded Wasim. “What could be the reason? Wasim Akram spoke for (Imran)? Or something else?” he wondered.
Another X user, Farid Khan, said that Wasim had disappeared now that Imran was added. He wondered if Wasim’s criticism of the PCB had come back to bite him.
He also shared pictures which he said featured Wasim in the deleted video but were not included in the new version.
“PCB software updated,” quipped Journalist Wajahat Kazmi.
Danyal Rasool, a sub-editor for ESPNCricinfo, said, “After bizarrely going to war with their own fans with a universally panned Independence Day video, the PCB have finally backed down, releasing a new promo that does feature Imran Khan.”
Journalist Arfa Feroze Zake noted that it had taken the PCB a couple of days to “understand that Pakistan cricket can never ever be complete” without the “greatest captain”.
“PCB has learnt a lifetime lesson that ‘people’s choice’ can never be ignored!!” he said.
The managing editor of Aaj Tak Sports, Vikrant Gupta, said: “Yes, PCB now remembers Imran Khan as someone who played for and won Pakistan the World Cup under his leadership.”