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Imran’s invitation to Gavaskar: Indian media called out over false propaganda

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, along with few other Indian cricketers, was invited to the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan, once Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain and now its prime minister-in-waiting.

Gavaskar declined to attend Imran’s swearing-in ceremony due to his commentating commitments during the ongoing England vs India Test series.

The facts, however, were twisted by Indian news channel ‘Times Now’, which claimed Gavaskar put India first by turning down Imran’s invite. “’Desh’ not ‘dost’ priority. Message for Sidhu and Cong. Pro-Imran lobby is on test. Will Sidhu dump Imran too?” the channel tweeted.

The post instantly sparked criticism from social media users who slammed the channel for putting a negative twist on the situation. Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who interviewed Gavaskar following Imran’s invitation, called out the channel for its ‘Desh’ narrative.

“Hey @TimesNow Gavaskar in his interview to me said he can’t attend @ImranKhanPTI swearing in because he is doing commentary in England. Nothing to do with this ‘Desh’ bull crap! In fact, Sunny was full of praise for Imran. Watch the interview and stop pushing your toxic agenda!” Sardesai responded

The journalist also posted a video of his interview with Gavaskar, where the cricketer had explained his reasons for declining the invite. “Yes, I did speak to Imran himself,” Gavaskar had confirmed. “He was inquiring if I’d be able to make it. I said to him that unfortunately because of my commentary commitments I won’t be able to do so. But my best wishes are with him and I’m hoping to see him sooner rather than later.”

“I think I’ve known him for plenty of years. I think it’s a huge moment for the cricketing fraternity that one of theirs has gone on to become the prime minister of a country so I wish him very well,” Gavaskar had continued, adding that Imran has “a wonderful opportunity to set up a completely new beginning as far as India-Pakistan relations are concerned.”

According to reports, former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu have accepted Imran’s invitation to attend his oath-taking while Indian Media is claiming that Kapil Dev has declined Imran Khan’s oath-taking invite.

Former India captain Kapil Dev won’t be attending the oath-taking ceremony of Pakistan’s prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan, local media reported on Tuesday.

Dev has declined the invitation extended by Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party citing ‘personal reasons’, a Times Now report said. He is one of the three cricketers from India invited to attend the leader’s swearing-in ceremony on August 18.

This comes after former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar declined the invitation due to his commentary commitments during the ongoing England vs India Test series. Former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has meanwhile accepted Imran’s invitation to attend his oath-taking.

Dev had earlier confirmed he had received a call from PTI inviting him to Imran’s swearing-in event, and had said he would attend the ceremony if formally invited.

“I have been invited, but not in writing. I got a call from his team, but I haven’t received any mail yet. I am waiting for a formal invite,” he was quoted as saying. “If I get a formal invite, I will go and attend the ceremony.”

The former cricketer had congratulated Imran over phone on his party’s victory in the elections.

“I said well done young man,” Dev had said, adding that it was wonderful to see a cricketer like Imran reaching up to the post of prime minister of Pakistan.

Imran has worked very hard for 20-odd years and he selflessly worked for his country and today he got reward for that. I hope he can keep working in the same manner.

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