New Delhi: Shahid Afridi is no more part of the Pakistan cricket team, but the all-rounder is still regarded as one of the most flamboyant players to have the played the game. He has played some incredible knocks, and produced dream spells. But the outspoken cricketer also managed to keep both his fans and critics interested his affairs with his comments.
The 37-year-old made no secrets of his disliking of Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir. But he was candid enough to admit that there's still respectable camaraderie among the players from the two countries.
Afridi, in a column for the ICC's official website, has said that "Contrary to popular belief, India and Pakistan players get along very well. Of course, there are exceptions like Gautam Gambhir, who dare I say isn’t the friendliest."
Afridi's comments, if we may, serve as the perfect appetizer to the upcoming India-Pakistan match in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, slated for June 4 at Edgbaston. Yes, India's title defence is still a matter of conjecture with the Indian board and ICC engaged in a bitter fight over the share of revenue, but the committee of administrators (CoA) has directed the BCCI to select the squad immediately. It means, India are all but ready to take part in the tournament, and the marquee clash will be their clash against Pakistan.
Both Afridi and Gambhir have featured in some intense India-Pakistan clashes. In 2007, they were involved in a heated verbal spat with lots of animation after the two players collided when Gambhir was going for a single in Kapur. RELIVE THE MOMENT HERE:
“We are unlikely to be found together at a coffee shop anytime soon. We had a heated exchange on the field some years ago and it made headlines all over the world. While I have moved on in life as I feel these things are part and parcel of the game, Gautam for some reason can’t get over it. Good luck to him!" Afridi wrote.
Besides, the two players make statements on behalf of the their respective countries even as the tension in the border continues to simmer.
It's pertinent to mention that last year, after the World T20 match in Kolkata, Virat Kohli & Co gifted Afridi an autographed Team India jersey.