'Who did these fans come for?' - Azhar Ali's sly dig at Shoaib Akhtar's 'fan following will never grow' remark

‘Who did these fans come for?’ – Azhar Ali’s sly dig at Shoaib Akhtar’s ‘fan following will never grow’ remark

Akhtar had recently criticized Pakistan after England clean swept them 3-0 in ODIs.

Shoaib Akhtar and Azhar Ali
Shoaib Akhtar and Azhar Ali. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After conceding the ODI series to England 0-3, Pakistan scripted a stunning turnaround in the first T20I in Nottingham on Friday (16 July) by registering a convincing 31-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The tour for Pakistan did not start on an ideal note, as they endured embarrassing defeats in the first two ODIs, before showing a glimpse of fight in the third, though only to be denied, courtesy of a significant chase by England.

The back-to-back uninspiring shows drew Babar Azam and his men plenty of flak from both fans and former cricketers, which included Shoaib Akhtar, who branded the team’s performance as “average”. “It’s a shameful performance. Our board is average. It brings average people, the management is average so obviously, they are going to build an average team.”

“Crowd are coming to the ground but after watching such performances, the fan following will never grow. There is no star to inspire the youngsters. Then how can you bring the next Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi or Wasim Akram? You have to build brand,” Akhtar had recently stated on his YouTube channel.

Azhar Ali’s sly dig at Shoaib Akhtar

Meanwhile, Pakistan batter Azhar Ali recently posted a cryptic tweet taking a sly dig at Akhtar over his “fan following will never grow” remark. “Ye fans kisko dekhnain aye they? (Who did these fans come for?), tweeted Ali, alongside a bunch of fans present at Trent Bridge during Pakistan’s victory. Joining him, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir tweeted “msg kar k poch lo ajju bhai who bata sakte hain jis ne bola tha’. (Ask the one who made the comments).

That all aside, Akhtar seemed impressed by the team’s recent effort and he went on to reckon that Pakistan might end up winning the T20 World Cup 2021. “England may have underestimated the Pakistan team. Maybe they didn’t understand that Pakistan is one of the best T20 teams in the world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if Pakistan wins the T20 World Cup this year. England needs to realize that the World Cup is going to be in the UAE and it is not going to be easy for them.”