Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi seemed unfazed by critics calling his statements politically incorrectMONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images

The Pakistan cricket team found themselves out of the ICC T20 World Cup after losing their third of four matches, this time against Australia. And while the disappointment of having to go back home was a major concern, the national team's captain, Shahid Afridi, decided to continue his comments about his "Kashmiri fans".

Speaking during the post-match presentation, Afridi said, "I want to thank the people of Kolkata (the venue of a previous World T20 match against India) for supporting us. I thank people who came and supported us from Pakistan and Kashmir. I also want to thank the BCCI for taking good care of us in India."

This was the second time the cricketer referred to the disputed Kashmir region, which has been at the centre of a political conflict between India and Pakistan since the independence of the two countries. Kashmir continues to be one of the most sensitive issues between the neighbouring countries.

During the 22 March match between Pakistan and New Zealand, Afridi thanked "a lot of people from Kashmir" who came to support his team. When asked if the team had a lot of fans in the audience, he said, "Yes, a lot of people, a lot of people are here from Kashmir as well. And I want to thank people of Kolkata, they really support us as well."

The statement didn't go down well with many Indians and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur hinted that the cricketer should not bring politics into the game.

"To give a statement like that is not politically correct. A player should stay away from all this. That's the reason why he was criticised in Pakistan," Thakur said referring to the controversy triggered by his previous remark on getting "more love in India than back home".

And it wasn't only the Indian fans who were upset. His comment about having more Indian than Pakistani fans angered a number of people back home as well and former captain Javed Miandad commented that the all-rounder should be ashamed of himself.

What was Afridi's response? "My comment was meant for educated people," he said when questioned about the incident. He is likely to be fired as the country's captain when he returns to Pakistan.

"Whatever is better for the country, I will go with that. I will see my form. There is pressure, media pressure. I will discuss with my family and even Wasim Akram before taking a call," he said. "As a player, I am fit. As a captain, I am not fit. I have enjoyed my captaincy. The team management, selection committee, and (PCB) Shahryar Khan have helped me out," he added.