Virender Sehwag and Shoaib Akhtar have come to the defence of India tennis star Sania Mirza and her husband and Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik after they were targeted on Twitter following Pakistan’s defeat at the hands of India in the World Cup.
The two former players said nobody has the right to question players' families and their personal lives if the team did not do well on the field.
Several fans had targeted Sania Mirza after photos of her having a late dinner Shoaib Malik and a few other Pakistani cricketers at a shisha café went viral after the match.
Some fans had claimed that the photos were from the night before the match, leading to outrage, but it was later found that the photos were from two days before the match.
However, that too did not stop the targeted attacks at Mirza, who eventually said she had decided to take a break from Twitter.
Shoaib Akhtar, on his YouTube channel, said he did not understand why some Pakistani fans chose to blame Sania Mirza for the defeat.
"People are blaming Sania Mirza. Pakistan fans are saying she was the reason for the defeat. What is her fault? She sometimes has to fend off (online) attacks from Indians or Pakistanis. Now the Pakistanis are after her... they are asking her why she went there. Shoaib Malik is her husband. They went to have a meal together… what wrong did they do?" Akhtar said.
Sehwag, who joined Shoaib Akhtar on his YouTube channel, said nobody had the right to talk about players' personal lives.
"I don't think you can connect personal life to their professional careers. I had said this before as well when Virat Kohli got out and Anushka Sharma was there to watch the match. I said you cannot comment on anyone's family… no matter how emotional you are about your team and your players but you cannot go into their personal life.”
He said no one should interfere and ask Mirza and Malik where they go and what they eat. “It is his (Malik's) life... he has to prepare himself for an India-Pakistan match and it is his wish how he wants to prepare. No one should raise questions on that. There are guys who cannot sleep till 6 AM… there are others who go out till 6 AM… I don't see the problem in that.”