File photo of Pakistan presenter Zainab Abbas© X (formerly Twitter)
Pakistani presenter Zainab Abbas, who was part of the ICC digital team covering the Cricket World Cup 2023, broke her silence for the first time since leaving India after facing backlash on social media over her alleged anti-India posts in the past. “I have always felt extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunities to travel and present the sport I love – this one would have been extra special,” Zainab said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. Abbas also made it clear that neither was she deported nor was she asked to leave from India.
“I was neither asked to leave nor was I deported,” she further added in the statement.
— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) October 12, 2023
Zainab left India from Hyderabad where she was deputed to cover Pakistan’s three Cricket World Cup games in the city. The 35-year-old was present at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad for Pakistan’s World Cup opener against the Netherlands on October 6.
Posts from her unverified X account, formerly Twitter, had gone viral after she announced that she would be covering the ICC mega event in India.
As speculation on social media intensified over her departure from India in the middle of the tournament, the International Cricket Council clarified that Zainab was not deported from the host country.
“Zainab has not been deported, she has left for personal reasons,” an ICC spokesperson told PTI. The presenter, who arrived in Hyderabad last week, was supposed to travel to cities where Pakistan are scheduled to play, including Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad.
Former Pakistan players Rameez Raja and Waqar Younis are in India as part of the commentary panel for the ODI showpiece, which began on October 5 and will end on November 19.