ICC World T20: The love we get in India is more than Pakistan, says Shahid Afridi

The Pakistani team touched down in Kolkata on Saturday night after getting government clearance to travel.

By: PTI | Kolkata | Updated: March 13, 2016 10:03 pm
ICC World T20, ICC World T20 updates, World T20 news, World T20 updates, World T20 scores, World T20, India vs Pakistan, Pak vs Ind, India Pakistan, Pakistan Cricket, sports news, sports, cricket news, Cricket Pakistan’s World T20 clash against India on March 19 had been moved from Dharamsala to Kolkata. (Source: PTI)

Floored by the warm reception in India after their arrival for the World Twenty20 Championship, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik on Sunday said they have never felt any security threat in the country.
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The Pakistani team touched down in Kolkata on Saturday night after getting government clearance to travel, a decision that was delayed by several days over security concerns.

In fact, Pakistan’s marquee World T20 clash against India on March 19 had be moved from Dharamsala to Kolkata after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh expressed his inability to provide adequate security cover in the wake of protests by the state’s ex-servicemen.

READ: Online registration for India-Pakistan match tickets start March 12th 

However, both Afridi and Malik played down the intense media focus on Pakistan’s security.

“I’ve not enjoyed playing anywhere as much as I have in India. I am in the last stage of my career and I can say that the love I have got in India is something that I will always remember. We have not got this much love even from Pakistan,” Afridi said.

“There are cricket-loving people here, much like in Pakistan. Overall, I’ve enjoyed a lot playing in India in my cricketing career,” he added.

Echoing Afridi’s sentiment, Malik, who is married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, said he feels honoured to be in India.

“Firstly I would like to thank the Indian Government. The security is very good. My wife is from India and I come to India a lot. I have never faced any security issue,” Malik said.

READ: Shahid Afridi-led Pakistan land in India for ICC World T20

“I don’t really see any difference between Pakistani people and the Indians. We eat the same food, we speak the same language. I don’t really see any difference. I am very happy to be in India. I have always got a lot of love from people and from media. I’m honoured to be in India,” he added.

Asked to comment on Pakistan government delaying clearance for their departure by insisting on a written security assurance from India, Afridi side-stepped the query, saying that he would not speak on politics.

“Whatever decision the state takes, we are behind them. We are cricketers and not politicians. Sport always brings two nations together. Can there be anything better than cricket? I think we should keep politics away from it,” Afridi said.

On whether Pakistani players would be distracted by the drama that preceded their arrival, Afridi said: “I think it’s nothing special. We were practising over there. We think about that. Physically and mentally we were ready that we will go definitely.”

“International cricket is all about pressure. The team which handles pressure well wins in the end.”

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  1. G
    Mar 13, 2016 at 11:24 pm
    Let players alone for the next few weeks, let every body play at their best. Hopefully India lifts the cup! The stupid leftist and Congress are destroying even cricket games now! If this keeps going nobody who watches cricket is going to vote for Congress/Leftist parties! They all be out for a Duck!
    1. I
      Mar 13, 2016 at 1:46 pm
      This is only a statement to pla safely in India, because he know the conditions very well
      1. K
        Mar 13, 2016 at 9:55 am
        Cricket is religion in India and we love all cricketers--On and off field .
        1. M
          Mar 13, 2016 at 10:11 am
          If this is real than we are cricket lovers too. we want clean cricket must be pla. best team must win. Politics are everywhere i dont agree they as we are cricketers not politicians.
          1. T
            Mar 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm
            when we have to protect stani cricket players from stan trained terrorists in India.
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