Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has expressed his disappointment with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the promotional video for the upcoming Cricket World Cup 2023, which is set to be hosted in India from October 5 to November 19. Akhtar raised concerns over the absence of Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, in the captivating promotional video that was unveiled on social media on July 20.
Titled ‘It Only Takes One Day,’ the promotional video features a captivating montage of cricketing moments and fan reactions, narrated by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. The video beautifully encapsulates the emotions and sensations that arise during the world’s most prestigious cricket tournament, the ICC World Cup.
The star-studded video includes appearances from prominent cricketers such as Jemimah Rodrigues, Dinesh Karthik, and Shubman Gill, among others. It also showcases guest appearances from cricketing legends like Eoin Morgan, the captain of the 2019 World Cup-winning team, Jonty Rhodes, Muttiah Muralitharan, and many more. Iconic moments from past World Cups are revisited, depicting the national colors and waving flags of all ten participating teams.
However, the noticeable absence of Babar Azam, the World No. 1 ODI batter and captain of the Pakistan cricket team, raised eyebrows and concerns among fans and cricketing fraternity alike. Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi made an appearance in the video, but visuals of Pakistan’s triumphant 1992 World Cup win were conspicuously missing.
Expressing his dissatisfaction, Shoaib Akhtar took to Twitter and criticized the ICC’s decision to leave out Babar Azam from the promotional video. He stated, “Whoever thought that World Cup promo will be complete without Pakistan & Babar Azam’s significant presence, has actually presented himself as a joke. Come on guys, time to grow up a bit.”
The 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup holds significant importance as it returns to India after a gap of 12 years. With ten teams participating, including defending champions England, the tournament promises to deliver thrilling cricketing action on the field. The tournament’s grand opening will witness a match between the finalists of the previous edition, England and New Zealand, at the iconic Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Pakistan, who will also host the Asia Cup at home and in Sri Lanka, will commence their campaign against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6. The highly anticipated clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan is scheduled to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium on October 15, although the possibility of rescheduling remains a consideration.
As cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the World Cup, Shoaib Akhtar’s remarks have drawn attention to the significance of Babar Azam’s presence in promoting the tournament. The ICC’s response to the critique remains to be seen as the cricketing world gears up for the thrilling spectacle of the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India.