Shahid Afirdi and Virat Kohli share a great friendship off the field Image: Twitter
While politicians try their best to widen the rift between India and Pakistan, some cricketers continue to be the glue that holds both the countries together. Shoaib Akhtar still heaps praise on Indian cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. Wasim Akram also shared a great rapport with Tendulkar throughout their playing days. And the latest crop of players isn't any different. Be it in person or on Twitter, they ensure their camaraderie isn't affected by the bitter political ramifications.
So here are five examples from the recent past, where cricketers from both sides of the border considered it best to take their friendship a yard ahead.
1. Recently, Suresh Raina was sent best wishes by Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir. The T20I against South Africa on February 18 was his comeback game. And Amir showed how cricket is least affected by the dreaded Line of Control.
En route Joburg . ✈️ can’t wait to get started . 💪 @ Dubai International Airport https://t.co/nG8XUYsNqG— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) February 15, 2018
Good luck bro do well👍👍👍— Mohammad Amir (@iamamirofficial) February 15, 2018
2. Not so long ago, Shahid Afridi was busy playing ice cricket in Switzerland, when he requested an Indian to hold the Tricolour with respect. Following the incident, he said the Indo-Pak rivalry will never affect his friendly equation with Virat Kohli. "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," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Shahid Afridi "Virat Kohli is a fantastic human being and an ambassador of cricket for his country, just like I am for my country. He has always shown me a lot of respect and has even gone out of his way to present a signed jersey for my foundation." pic.twitter.com/MhuMIFugbq— ZEE🇵🇰 (@IBleedGreenZ) February 11, 2018
3. While playing in New Zealand, Shoaib Malik suffered a head injury while taking a run. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he showed delayed concussion signs. This spurred Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan to check about his health status. And won hearts on Twitter, too.
Janab @realshoaibmalik, hope you're recovering well and will be fit soon to be back on the field! Take care🤗☺— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) January 18, 2018
4. You can never leave Rameez Raja out of action. In a recent interview, Raja went to the extent of saying Pakistan need a mentor like Rahul Dravid. After India's U-19 squad beat Pakistan in the World Cup semi-final, he said, "We need to have give someone charge for a proper time period like India has done with Rahul Dravid." He further went ahead and praised Dravid, saying, "I am impressed with the temperament shown by some of the Indian players. They have a fine find in Shubman Gill and others. Rahul Dravid deserves lot of credit for preparing and grooming them so effectively."
5. Comparisions between Indian and Pakistani players are not uncommon. Asad Shafiq was once compared to Sachin Tendulkar. And Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur took the liberty to compare Babar Azam with Virat Kohli. But Azam showed his humble side and praised Kohli, saying, "He compared me with a very big player. I think it shouldn't be done. But that is the coach's thinking. Maybe the stats at the start of our careers are similar, but he is the No 1 batsman in the world. I want to perform at a high level for Pakistan too."
All the acrimony can now stay restricted to the political arena. For, the cricketers are busy making the subcontinent a better place.