The cricket rivalry between India and Pakistan is undoubtedly one of the biggest in the sporting world. It becomes the battle of nerves as well as pride whenever these two South Asian arch-rivals lock horns against each other on the cricket field. Rivalry aside though, there seems to be a great bit of camaraderie between the top cricketers of both the nation.
Recently, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi opened up about his affable relationship with the heartthrob of Indian cricket – Virat Kohli. Afridi termed the India skipper as great human being and further went on to say that political hostility can never define his cordial relation with 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," Afridi quoted as saying by PTI.
"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)," he added.
Afridi, who is a darling of the crowd all around the globe, also said that as a responsible sportsman they can play a huge play role in improving the ties between the two nations.
"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 the he was getting married.
"I believe as cricketers we can set examples of how relationship between individuals can be a template for relationship between countries. I think after Pakistan, the two countries where I have received most love and respect are India and Australia," the 37-year-old said.
Afridi loves Virat’s enthusiasm on the field and also believes that he can take Indian cricket forward by guiding 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 opined.
When asked to compare Kohli with Pakistan’s Champions Trophy winning skipper Sarfraz 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," he concluded.