Pakistani TV news anchor, Waseem Badami accepted that he and his broadcasting team at ARY News made a mistake by making Babar Azam’s private chat with PCB COO Salman Naseer public. Badami, however, revealed that they had decided not to put the screenshot of Babar’s personal chat on-air about an hour before the show but the last-minute change in decision took place due to a video message from PCB chief Zaka Ashraf.
“We have to make a lot of quick decisions when we produce a live show. A lot of people are involved in it too. Naturally, some decisions prove to be right and some wrong. As a team, we made a wrong decision, sharing Babar’s chat with a senior PCB official. In short, we were sitting together and deciding an hour before the show that we shouldn’t make a private chat public,” Badami said in a video posted on his official X account.
Badami alleged that it was the PCB chief, who not only provided them the screenshot of Babar’s chat but also urged the channel to show it live.
“About five to seven minutes before the show, we received a clip where Zaka Ashraf is saying: ‘I am giving you this screenshot and I am asking you to show it live on screen’. Ashraf also gave us permission to share that. He was taking responsibility on TV; we thought we could share it. But it wasn’t the ideal decision. We conveniently forgot that Babar Azam’s consent was also important. I’m saying this on behalf of my team and the management. I am not proud of it, we are not proud of it. When something like this happens, you learn from it and try not to repeat the same in future,” he added.
What was in Babar Azam’s leaked chat with PCB COO?
In an ARY News broadcast hosted by Badami, an alleged screenshot of Pakistan captain Babar’s chat with the PCB COO was shown in which the board official was asking whether Babar had called or texted the PCB chief in the middle of the World Cup, as claimed by various media outlets in Pakistan.
“Babar, there’s also been news circulating on TV and social media that you have been calling Chairman and he’s not answering. Have you called him recently?” read the message allegedly sent by the PCB COO.
“Salam (greetings) Salman bhai. Maine to sir ko koi call nai ke (I haven’t called sir),” was Babar’s reply.
Pakistan greats slam those involved in invading Babar Azam’s privacy
The screenshot went viral as soon as it went on-air. Former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, who was one of the panellists of the ARY News broadcast, immediately protested saying that someone’s personal chat should not have been leaked on live TV.
Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis slammed those responsible for the act. “Ya kya karna ki koshish kar raha ho aap loog??? (What are you guys trying to do here?) This is pathetic !!! Khush ho gaya aap loog (Are you guys happy now?). Please leave @babarazam258 alone 🙏🏽. He’s an asset of Pakistan Cricket @TheRealPCB @ARYNEWSOFFICIAL @Salman_ARY,” he tweeted.
Pakistan cricket in a mess?
This is not the only off-the-field controversy surrounding the Pakistan team at the moment. PCB chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq resigned on Monday following a conflict of interest charge, which the PCB decided to investigate. “Inzamam-ul-Haq has resigned as the chairman of the national men’s selection committee and junior selection committee. He was appointed as the chairman of the national men’s committee on 7 August 2023 and was also appointed chairman of the junior men’s selection committee earlier this month,” the PCB said in a statement.
Inzamam, a former Pakistan captain, said he would resume duties if the committee clears him after the investigation. “I am stepping down from the post to offer the PCB the opportunity to conduct a transparent inquiry about the conflict of interest allegations raised in the media. If the committee finds me not guilty, I will resume my role as the chief selector,” he said.
Pakistan, meanwhile, will take on Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday to stay alive in the tournament. They will need to win their remaining three matches convincingly and then hope that the results of the Australia, Afghanistan and New Zealand matches go in their favour to stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.