WT20: Virat Kohli's cross-border bonhomie with Afridi and 'gifted' Amir
A day after Suresh Raina and Shoaib Malik's great display of cross-border camaraderie, it was the turn of Indian batting mainstay Virat Kohli, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi and speedster Muhammad Amir's turn to teach people about cross-border bonhomie.
Cross-border diplomacy: Shahid Afridi and Virat Kohli find a few moments of peace at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday ahead of their blockbuster clash. Pic/AFP
The Saturday's encounter will see the resumption of one of the world’s fiercest sporting rivalries, the fans of the two countries are also constantly indulging in war (of words) and, of course, there are the political undercurrents. But the two cricketing pillars of their sides seemed unmindful of all that when they took time out of their practice session at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on Friday to catch up and spend a few moments chatting. In the process they showed the world that the Indo-Pak rivalry is only on the pitch, not beyond the boundary.
Funny twosome: Shahid Afridi and Virat Kohli share a lighter moment at Eden Gardens. Pic/AFP
Afridi may have sparked a controversy and received a lot of flak back home after having spoken of the “love” he receives from Indian fans, but he seemed unperturbed when he came across Kohli at Eden. The posturing was left by the wayside as the duo shook hands and caught up like old friends.
Give me a bat too: Afridi seems to be asking Kohli for his bat.
Kohli even gifted a bat to speedster Mohammad Amir on the eve of their high profile World T20 clash. Virat and Amir chatted for a while and the Indian then excused himself and returned with a bat in hand and presented it to the Pakistani.
Amir was seen literally jumping with joy at the star Indian batsman's gesture and did some shadow practice with the willow.
Don't use the long handle against us: Virat Kohli gifts one of his bats to Muhammad Amir.
Kohli, actually, had earlier gone against the norm and even been one of the few non-Pakistani supporters of Pakistan's convicted spot-fixer Muhammad Aamir. The Indian limited overs vice-captain has expressed happiness to find the talented left-arm pacer back in their national team.
A little to heavy? Muhammad Amir checks out his gift
In fact, Kohli had even gone to the extent of saying that Aamir could have been amongst the top three bowlers, had he not strayed.
Raina and Malik had on Thursday been seen hugging and patting each other, shaking hands during optional practice sessions, making it a perfect photo opportunity ahead of their much hyped Super 10 Group 2 match.
What a bat! Muhammad Amir seems to be loving his gift.
The cricketers, though, will leave their bonhomie at their respective hotels when they take the field against each other in the World Twenty20 blockbuster in Kolkata tomorrow.
Meanwhile, while the rest of the Indian batsman had a rigorous batting session, Kohli was seen taking a different approach as he took throw downs for about 40 minutes from the local bowlers.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India will look for turnaround from their shock opening defeat to New Zealand when they take on a resurgent Pakistan. Whereas Pakistan will look to continue their winning momentum.