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‘Cricketers don’t speak on sensitive issues because of insecurities’: Irfan Pathan

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Irfan Pathan has never shied away from voicing his opinion and has always made sure to utilise his position as a former India international to spread a positive message through social media.

On issues beyond cricket, Pathan is one of the few people who has raised his voice time, talking straight to the point- be it about the riots in Jamia Milia Islamia last year or about discrimination.

The 35-year-old, who announced his retirement from cricket last year, recently spoke on the debate around racism and said “it is not just restricted to the skin colour” on Twitter in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, USA which sparked a widespread ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests.

Later, Pathan even defended his statement by tweeting, “My opinions are always as an Indian and for India, I will not stop…”, after his opinion didn’t sit well with a section of social media users.

Talking about the pressures of handling social media with Raunak Kapoor on the Instagram Live show ‘Beyond The Field’, Pathan said, “You can only build your image on social media if you have a thick skin and are real. As a social influencer and a person who has represented India at the highest level, I will always speak of unity.”

“I try to keep my life private but bring my thoughts to the people so that my country can benefit from it. If I don’t bring people together after the media tries to incite us to fight, then the fact that I played for India holds no value.”

Last year in December, Pathan was one of the few sportspersons to speak up on the police lathicharge against several students of Jamia Millia Islamia during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

“For example, when I had tweeted about the Jamia, I read and re-read, thought about it, and spoke to students as well before coming out and expressing concern about it,” he added.

Pathan also addressed the issue of members of the sports fraternity and cricketers not speaking up on sensitive issues.

“Ideally, if cricketers or sports stars can come out and talk about issues plaguing society, then it will only take the country forward. But simply saying “hamara desh mahan hai” won’t help. We need to walk the talk.”

“If you ask why others don’t talk about sensitive issues, then I feel they have insecurities. For example, a commentator ends up losing his job for praising the opposition because a film star tweets against him. These are insecurities. So, if we can assure them security then they will come out and talk.”

Irfan Pathan has played for India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIS, and 24 T20Is, claiming 100 wickets, 173 wickets, and 28 wickets respectively. With the bat, the all-rounder scored 2,821 runs across the three formats.


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