Pakistan icon Shahid Afridi wins hearts in India by rising above politics

Sport360 staff 18:17 11/02/2018
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Afridi has many fans in India and across the world.

Pakistan star Shahid Afridi is adored by fans not only in his country but across the globe and especially in India. His fearless style of cricket has made him a superstar who continues to pull in crowds wherever he goes and whichever format or level of cricket he plays.

During the recently held Ice Cricket Challenge in St Moritz in the Swiss Alps, Afridi showed why he is one of the most beloved cricketers to emerge from the subcontinent.

After the Afridi-led Royals team beat Virender Sehwag’s Badrutt Palace Diamonds side by six wickets, the star all-rounder posed for pictures with a handful of fans who had gathered at the frozen lake that was converted into a cricket pitch.

One India fan asked for a picture to be clicked with Afridi, careful to keep the Indian flag tucked away to avoid any potential unease. However, Afridi asked the fan to unfurl the flag before posing for the picture.

That gesture has won the hearts of scores of fans on both sides of the border.

“I believe as cricketers we can set examples of how relationship between individuals can be a template for relationship between countries,” Afridi was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

“I think after Pakistan, the two countries where I have received most love and respect are India and Australia,” he added.

The other big players who featured in the unique cricket event were Shoaib Akhtar, Graeme Smith, Andrew Symonds, Lasith Malinga and Mahela Jayawardene.

Last year, Afridi was gifted an Indian jersey signed by a number of star players including Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh on his retirement from international cricket.

That jersey was later sold at an auction for the star’s charitable institution – the Shahid Afridi Foundation.

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