Former India cricketer Ashok Malhotra on Wednesday apologised for his disparaging remarks in which he labelled the Assam players of his time as “second-class citizens”.
Malhotra made the remark after Bengal suffered a shock loss to Assam in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy pre-quarterfinals in Mohali on Tuesday.
Malhotra, who also coached Bengal after his playing days, said on air, “Humare zamane mein Assam ke team ko second-class citizens mana jata thaa (During my playing days, the Assam team was called second-class citizen.” A day later, Malhotra, who played seven Tests and 20 ODIs for the country, issued an unconditional apology on X following an uproar, saying, “I apologise profusely if I have hurt Assam people’s sentiments with my comments during the Assam v Bengal game last evening.
“I am sorry. It was totally unintentional and was trying to speak about their progress. I regret it and give an unconditional apology.” Meanwhile, in the match, Assam captain Riyan Parag had notched up his seventh consecutive half-century as his team thrashed Bengal by eight wickets to qualify for the SMAT quarterfinals.
A video of Parag gesturing towards the commentary box and showing his displeasure with Malhotra’s comments has gone viral on social media. Parag had smashed an unbeaten 31-ball 50.
In the video, Parag can be seen gesturing that the Assam team today is far superior to their Bengal counterparts.
Assam were powered by an all-round show by Parag, who had earlier returned with figures of 4-0-23-2 with the ball. Akash Sengupta’s 3/29 also played a part in restricting Bengal to a modest 138/8 in their 20 overs.
Invited to bat, a few Bengal batters got starts but failed to convert them into big knocks.
Assam completed the chase in 17.5 overs for the loss of two wickets.
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