Gautam Gambhir Can't Get Over Our On-Field Spat, Says Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi recently called it quits from from international cricket while Gautam Gambhir has not been in the reckoning for a spot in the Indian cricket team, having last played a limited overs match more than four years ago.
Shahid Afridi has good relations with current and former Indian cricketers and had also recently presented a signed Team India ODI jersey with a hand-written note from captain Virat Kohli. However, there is one cricketer that Afridi said with whom he would not be found in a coffee house. In the lead up to the Champions Trophy 2017, to be held in England and Wales, Afridi in an ICC column spoke about his relationship with members of the Indian team and said that he got along well with most Indian players except current Kolkata Knight Riders captain, Gautam Gambhir, who according to the former Pakistan skipper is yet to get over their heated exchange on the field.
Afridi recently called it quits from from international cricket while Gambhir has not been in the reckoning for a spot in the Indian cricket team, having last played a limited overs match more than four years ago.
"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," said Afridi.
"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!"
However, Afridi was quick to point to Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan as his "good mates" in the Indian team.
"The three are my good 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.
"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 recollected.
Amongst the current crop of Indian cricketers, Afridi said a player he admired and respected a lot was captain Virat Kohli.
"Another player I admire and respect from the present lot is Virat Kohli. He has a fantastic cricket bat in hand and an even a better heart in his supremely fit body.
"I will always remember him for the gesture he showed when he gave me an India cricket team's signed shirt following our match in Kolkata in the World T20.
"This shirt sits prominently in my collection and will always remind me of not only my matches and visits to India, but my excellent relationships with most, if not all India cricketers," he said.
Afridi is sad about the two teams not playing each other often anymore. Their last bilateral Test series took place way back in 2007.
It was a lot of fun while they were touring each other's country, said Afridi, who recalled an incident during one of India's tour to Pakistan.
"I recall during one of India's tours to Pakistan, I invited the entire India team to my Karachi house. We prepared special Pathan-style rich food, full of lamb and mutton dishes.
"When the food was served, there was a complete silence in the room and my Indian friends were looking at each other. At that point, I realised that my honourable and respectable guests don't eat that type of food.
"Quite a few of them were vegetarians, and so, we had to urgently replace the food with Daal (lentils) and vegetables dishes. It was quite embarrassing for me to not know about the dietary requirements of the guests since our similarity of culture made me take many things for granted. That was a funny memory of my 'hospitality' for the Indian team.
"Unfortunately, we don't meet each other that often now due to the prevailing relations between the two countries. But I miss the good times with my Indian cricket friends and I am sure they feel likewise. Hopefully, the situation will improve soon so that the old friends can reunite to relive old memories."
(With PTI Inputs)