Former cricketer Abdul Razzaq has once again found himself in the midst of controversy after making disparaging comments involving former Miss Universe and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The incident occurred during a press conference at the Marriott in Karachi, where Razzaq was addressing the need for improved player development by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The Controversial Remark:
In an attempt to emphasize the importance of intentions in player development, Razzaq used a gross analogy that involved Aishwarya Rai. He stated, “If your thought process is that you’ll marry Aishwarya Rai and expect a pious and virtuous child to be born, then that can never happen.” The remark implied that Aishwarya, or a woman of her ‘character,’ could not possibly have pious or virtuous children.
Razzaq’s comments, which were captured in a video clip of the press conference, quickly went viral, causing widespread outrage and disgust. Many criticized the former cricketer for using Aishwarya Rai in an offensive analogy to critique the PCB’s efforts in player development. The remark was not only ludicrous but also insensitive, drawing attention to the issue of using a woman to highlight the perceived failings of a group of men.
Abdul Razzaq shares inadequate example to put his point about Pakistan cricket team performance. Here’s the viral video.#AbdulRazzaq #ShahidAfridi #MisbahUlHaq #KamranAkmal #ShoaibMalik #Karachi #cwc2023 #WorldCup23 #TOKReports pic.twitter.com/8CV0Cf3kVh
— Times of Karachi (@TOKCityOfLights) November 13, 2023
The video clip showed fellow cricketers, including Shahid Afridi, Umer Gul, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Saeed Ajmal, Younis Khan, and Shoaib Malik, laughing and clapping at Razzaq’s inappropriate analogy. The reaction of these players added fuel to the controversy, raising questions about the culture within the cricket community.
In the aftermath of the incident, Abdul Razzaq issued an apology on Samaa TV, stating that it was a slip of the tongue and expressing regret for his choice of words. However, the apology fell short for many, considering it was not the first time Razzaq faced criticism for misogynistic remarks. Shahid Afridi and Umer Gul also apologized for their reactions, acknowledging the inappropriateness of the comment.
Beyond the distasteful nature of Razzaq’s comment is the broader issue of how casually and commonly women are used as the subjects of jokes or punchlines. The incident highlights the need for a cultural shift, where sexist remarks are not only condemned but also actively challenged by individuals, especially those in positions of influence.
Abdul Razzaq’s disparaging comment involving Aishwarya Rai has ignited controversy and shed light on the pervasive issue of sexism within the cricket community and society at large. The incident calls for introspection and a collective effort to promote a culture of respect and equality, moving beyond mere apologies to addressing the root causes of such attitudes.