Haris Rauf Fight Incident: Dragging India’s Name Appears A Well-Crafted PR Stunt To Divert Backlash Post Pakistan's T20 WC Debacle; Here’s Why

Haris Rauf Fight Incident: Dragging India’s Name Appears A Well-Crafted PR Stunt To Divert Backlash Post Pakistan's T20 WC Debacle; Here’s Why

PR agencies working for Pakistani players appear to be exploiting the Haris Rauf fan abuse incident to garner sympathy for the beleaguered T20 World Cup squad.

Rohan SenUpdated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 06:02 PM IST
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The recent video of Haris Rauf brawling with a Pakistani fan in Florida smacks of a calculated publicity stunt by the Men in Green to divert attention from their disastrous performance in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

Manufactured Sympathy

Rauf has garnered significant support on social media from Pakistani fans and teammates following allegations that he was abused by a fellow countryman.

Yet, teammate Muhammad Rizwan stoked the flames by dragging India's name into the controversy, even though the fan in the video clearly stated he was Pakistani.

Misleading Propaganda

Pakistani social media users immediately flooded platforms with claims that an Indian had abused Rauf. Propaganda accounts based in Pakistan continue to circulate the video with misleading claims to fit their narrative.

Shifting Focus

The narrative has now shifted to Rauf and the excessive criticism from fans over the team's World Cup failures. While fans’ anger is understandable, the vitriol and public outrage are not.

PR agencies working for Pakistani players appear to be exploiting this incident to garner sympathy for the beleaguered squad.

The Role of PR Agencies

Saya Corp, representing Rizwan, Babar Azam, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, has previously faced accusations of orchestrating controversial tweets. Rizwan, in particular, has been accused of pushing anti-India agendas through his social media posts.

His recent support for Rauf, despite the clear identity of the abusive fan, is seen as another attempt to stir controversy.

Previously, he played the religion card against Indian bowler Mohammed Shami in a tweet linked to Talha and Saya Corp.

Dodging Fan Wrath

To avoid the backlash, players are returning to Pakistan in small groups. Only a few, like Naseem Shah and Usman Khan, arrived in Lahore early Wednesday, greeted by a mere handful of fans.

Meanwhile, most players and staff remain in the US, with captain Babar Azam reportedly heading to London with teammates Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan, and Azam Khan to escape the uproar back home.

Internal Team Strife

Reports suggest the team is split into factions led by Shaheen and Babar, who have allegedly been at odds since the captaincy was shuffled between them before the World Cup.

Former captain Shahid Afridi and ex-chief selector even admitted the team is unhappy and disjointed, reminiscent of the turmoil during the 2009 T20 World Cup.

A Pattern of Blame and Deflection

Pakistani players fighting with their own fans, maligning India, dodging the fallout back home, and holidaying in London—none of this detracts from Pakistan’s repeated failures on the world stage.

Former skipper Wasim Akram has called for a complete overhaul of Pakistan's white-ball teams to change their fortunes. However, the team must also confront its insecurities towards India and stop scapegoating its neighbour every time their own system collapses and the team underperforms.

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