Despite the political turmoil restricting India-Pakistan bilateral ties, former Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi has put forward a point pretty clearly that his cordial relation with Indian skipper Virat Kohli cannot be defined by political situation.
“My relationship with Virat is not dictated by political situation. Virat is a fantastic human being and an ambassador of cricket for his country, just like I am for my country,” Afridi was quoted as saying by the PTI during an interaction during the St Moritz Ice Cricket Tournament.
“He (Kohli) has always shown a lot of respect and has even gone out of his way to present a signed jersey for my foundation (Shahid Afridi Foundation),”Afridi added. His foundation has been working very hard for providing clean and safe drinking water for the economically weaker sections of the society.
“There is a lot of warmth and fellow-feeling whenever I have spoken to Virat. It’s not that we get a chance to speak a lot but from time to time, he would drop in a message and I would do the same. I congratulated him recently when I came to know he was getting married.
“I believe as cricketers we can set examples of how the relationship between individuals can be a template for a relationship between countries. I think after Pakistan, the two countries where I have received most love and respect are India and Australia,” said Afridi.
Afridi who loved duels head on, both verbal and off the field during his illustrious career, said that he loves the aggression of Kohli and supporting some of the junior players in crisis situation has helped him earn tremendous respect for the youngsters.
“Virat is doing a brilliant job. I have no problem with aggression if it is a controlled one. And Virat’s character is different from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was a composed individual. Now suddenly, you cannot change the inherent nature of a person. Virat’s greatest asset is that he can take the team along,” Afridi observed.
When asked to compare with Kohli and Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Khan Afridi said, “Sarfraz is still new to the job and he will only get better along the way. The only thing I don’t like is that media running down players during their rough times.
“As long as you are winning, everything is fine and you lose a game and all hell breaks loose. That is grossly unfair. We should not overlook someone’s past achievements just because he is going through a bad patch,” said the cricketer who has been loved and criticised in equal proportion.
Here’s the Newsfeed: