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 with 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 off the field.
Recently, UC Browser conducted live stream chats with cricketing greats – Virender Sehwag of India and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi. During the show, both the renowned cricketers indulged in fascinating conversations and discussed their favorite opponents, superstitions and a lot more.
Talking about his favorite opponents, Sehwag said: “My favorite opponent has always been Pakistan. In my debut match on 1 April 1999 against Pakistan, I was abused so much. I was a 20-year-old boy and played just two balls. On the second ball, Shoaib removed me for an LBW. I haven’t been abused in the last 20 years as much as I was during those two balls.”
While talking about the cricketer whom he feared the most in his playing days, Afridi said: “As such, I wasn’t scared of anyone, but the one player it was difficult to bowl to was Sehwag.”
Answering the same, Sehwag asserted: “If there was one bowler I was scared of, it was Shoaib Akhtar. You didn’t know which ball he would hit on your shoe, and which on your head. And he has hit many bouncers on my head. I was scared of him, but had fun hitting balls from him too.”
When asked about the favorite moment of his career, the former Pakistan all-rounder replied: “The 2009 World Cup is memorable for us because the Sri Lanka incident had happened, and Pakistan cricket was struggling. That win was important to lift the spirits of our nation.”
Speaking about his most cherished moment, Sehwag named two historic ICC events.
“For us, there were two – 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup. In 2007, we had a really young team and no one had expected us to do well, or win, that too in South Africa. And 2011 is memorable because no other host nation before India had won the World Cup,” Viru stated.
As far as the superstition is concerned – Afridi very much like his batting style never believed in it. On the other hand, Sehwag had his few false notions.
“I never believed in these things. Just focus on the game,” Afridi said while talking about the superstition.
“When a newly-wedded bride comes home, she steps in with the right foot. So when we enter, we enter with the right foot, thinking maybe our day will be good too. My mother also used to tell me to keep a red cloth in my pocket or wear a black thread. I did that in Sri Lanka in 2001 and got out on 10, 12 or 0. Sourav Ganguly was our captain then. He came to Yuvraj and my room and told us we had the last two chances to perform. So I went in the next match to bat and got out early. So I came back and gave the red cloth to Yuvraj who then scored 98 not out. I still haven’t got the red cloth back,” Sehwag revealed.
Talking about their alternative careers, Afridi said he would have been either in business or in the army whereas Sehwag stated he might have followed his father’s footsteps and become a farmer.
“My family is mostly into business or are in the army. So I was more interested in the army. Just took a chance at playing cricket,” Afridi revealed.
“My father was a farmer. Maybe I would have done that too,” Sehwag said.