Former flamboyant all-rounder from Pakistan Shahid Afridi, who has been named as a brand ambassador from Pakistan for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2017 which is scheduled in England and Wales from June 1, in his exclusive column for ICC website has revealed that he wants to see Pakistan win against India while expecting a mouth-watering clash between the two neighbouring countries which further has a rich history of cricket to boast about.
While sharing a cordial relation with players from Team India, Afridi remarked he has cherished the memories alongside Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh.
“While Gautam is clearly an exception, I have enjoyed excellent relationships with Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. The three are one of my best mates and we have some wonderful memories together from the times when both the sides used to play and tour each other on a regular basis,” Afridi wrote in his column for ICC.
However, in his latest column, Afridi stated Indian opener Gautam Gambhir is not among the players whom he would walk in a ‘coffee shop’.
“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. We are unlikely to be found together at a coffee shop anytime soon,” Afridi added.
The 37-year-old Afridi wrote he had a heated argument which further grabbed the headlines in the cricket world.
Moreover, he feels Gambhir is yet to get over the things while referring to the on-field exchanges.
Afridi, who has recently announced his retirement from International cricket, was presented a special autographed jersey by Indian skipper Virat Kohli, which has a further hand-written message on it.
Having the affection for Virat Kohli, Afridi remarked he will remember the gesture from the talented batsman, for a long time while adding he has a great regard for the 28-year-old batting star.
The all-rounder, who has been known for his leg-spin, remarked the 2005 century in Kanpur is his best against India while feeling privileged to play in the era when Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble were playing from India.
“In the early days of our careers, we used to hang out together quite a lot and also spend time at each other’s homes. Now, all of us are married and, as such, responsibilities and the priority lists have changed. But whenever we catch-up, we meet with warmth and love, and remember our good times together,” Afridi explained.
In 2007, Afridi and Gambhir were fined for physically colliding during the game in Kanpur after a verbal battle at the 22-yeard surface which further saw Ian Gould intervened into the matter following heated altercation between two-star cricketers.
“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 further added.
Pakistan and India are scheduled to play in Edgbaston on July 4 as the tickets have been already sold out for the high-octane.
“I really hope that we see a classic Indo-Pak match. India is a batting powerhouse brimming with talent, which is well supported by an aggressive and attacking bowling line-up. But I feel that Pakistan has a formidable bowling line-up that can challenge the Indian batting, especially in the English conditions,” Afridi concluded.
The veteran has played 398 One-day Internationals, 98 Twenty20 Internationals and 27 Tests for Pakistan since 1996.