India offspinner R Ashwin has waded into controversy by comparing Chennai Super Kings' return to the IPL fold to Manchester United's recovery from the horrific plane crash at Munich in 1958, in which 23 people including eight of their footballers died.
Chennai Super Kings finished their two-year suspension from the IPL on July 14 and will be back in the competition for the 11th edition next year.
"I think the two-year hiatus for CSK probably increases its value much like what it did for Manchester United when the air crash happened," Ashwin, who played for Super Kings between 2009-15, told the Times of India. "I don't know if it's in the same league but surely people in Chennai and fans across the world are waiting for CSK to return. I hope it turns out to be a good comeback."
The Manchester United squad had been returning home from a European Cup tie in Belgrade on February 6, 1958 when their British European Airways flight crashed on take-off following a refuelling stop. Ten years later, the team - including two survivors of the crash, Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes - became the first English winners of the European Cup with victory over Benfica at Wembley.
Guys please take the reporting with a pinch of salt with respect to the Munich tragedy and CSK. All I said was the break will make the ..— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) July 19, 2017
The comparison drew instant flak from the public, with many venting their ire on social media. However, Ashwin himself claimed he had been "misquoted" when he later took to Twitter to clarify his remarks.
"Guys please take the reporting with a pinch of salt with respect to the Munich tragedy and CSK. All I said was the break will make the fans turn up in numbers when the comeback happens. Not required to blow it out of context," he wrote.
"Now all those who hate me, please get off my mentions, we will catch-up sometime later when I get misquoted again. Thanks."