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Zimbabwe-Pakistan match isn’t over. President Mnangagwa, PM Shehbaz spar over fake Mr Bean

From Virender Sehwag to Wasim Jaffer, ex-Indian cricketers were especially active in using Mr Bean references to draw parallels with Pakistan’s T20 defeat.

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The President of Zimbabwe and the Prime Minister of Pakistan are taking jibes at each other on social media—over ‘fake’ Mr Bean. It’s an old squabble between the countries that dates back to 2016. But Pakistan’s loss to Zimbabwe by a single run in the T20 World Cup match on 27 October has fuelled this bizarre exchange between the two heads of State.

And that’s when things went a bit too far. First, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa took a dig at Pakistan. He congratulated his team on the victory, but in a veiled, light-hearted attack, he said, “Next time, send the real Mr Bean.”

­It didn’t take Pakistan long to hit back. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif  tweeted saying, “We may not have the real Mr Bean, but we have real cricketing spirit .. and we Pakistanis have a funny habit of bouncing back :)”

Now, both Pakistanis and Zimbabweans have waded into the tiff. It’s being called the ‘revenge of Mr Bean’.

Such a public display of witticisms can only come with something as personal as cricket. Takes us right back to Trump’s Twitter era where faux pas and targeted jibes were an everyday affair.

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The Pakistani Mr Bean

So how did Mr Bean—the quirky British fictional character whose life is a series of mishaps–find himself in the middle of a cricket row? This war began even before Zimbabwe’s triumphant win.

It started with a tweet by a fan, Ngugi Chasura, who responded to a post by the Pakistan Cricket Board saying: “As Zimbabweans, we won’t forgive you…you once gave us that Fraud Pak Bean instead of Mr Bean Rowan ..we will settle the matter tomorrow just pray the rains will save you…#ZIMVSPAK”

The Mr. Bean in question is Pakistani comedian Asif Mohammad, a look-alike of the original character played by Rowan Atkinson from 1990-1995 and in later spinoffs. In 2016, Asif travelled to Zimbabwe to perform at a comedy night held at the Harare International Conference.

Costing $10 a ticket, the show proved to be an utter flop. The spectators were severely disappointed to have ‘lost’ their money and called the show a fraud. His subpar performance is something that Zimbabweans remember even today.

After Pakistan’s defeat, this controversy was reignited on Twitter, with both fans and cricketers indulging in the conversation.

From Virender Sehwag to Wasim Jaffer, ex-Indian cricketers were especially active on the microblogging site, using Mr Bean references to draw parallels with Pakistan’s T20 defeat.


Indian comedian Danish Sait also took to Twitter to give his two cents on the ‘controversy.’

While this has not led to a full-fledged altercation, fans and cricket experts continue their banter on the match and the ‘nostalgia’ it seems to have brought with itself.

(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)

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