Islamabad: A team from Islamabad reached India on Monday to review security arrangements for Pakistan…
Kolkata: Speaking to the press ahead of the World T20, Shahid Afridi was all praises for the Indian cricket team and the nation in general. He said he always enjoyed cricket in India and that he’d got a lot of love from the people of the nation, even more than they’d got in Pakistan.
He said to ANI: “India mein humne humesha cricket enjoy kia,yahan ke logon se humein bahut pyar mila,itna pyar humein Pak mein bhi ni mila jitna yahan. India are playing very good cricket. If you look at last game against us in Asia cup, Virat & Yuvraj did really well. There are very less nations where I’ve enjoyed cricket as much as I’ve enjoyed cricket in India-Shahid Afridi.”
He also added the Pakistan cricket team was physically and mentally prepared to go to India.
Meanwhile Shoaib Malik said: “I am very happy to be in India, I always get a lot of love. I am honored to be in India…you could figure it out their games have improved big time. Yes, we are little bit behind if you talk about short-term versions & little bit of ODIs as well.”
He also added that he wanted to thank the Indian govt for the security cover which was ‘very good’. He added: “My wife is from India. I come to India a lot, I never had any security. This is a great opportunity for us to perform well and bring Pakistan where the rest of the world is.”
Watch: Shahid Afridi asks Pakistanis to stop hating Indians
Pakistani team finally arrive after dillydallying
Cleared by their government after days of uncertainty over their participation, the Pakistani contingent arrived in India to take part in the World Twenty20 cricket tournament as they landed here after a long flight.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the airport to welcome the Pakistan team as Shahid Afridi and his players came out of the airport. The Pakistani skipper reciprocated the warm gestures, waving at the crowd before leading his teammates into two buses as they went straight to the team hotel. It took about an hour for the Pakistan players to clear their immigration formalities before they finally came out of the airport to the loud cheers of the fans gathered there. Some fans were also heard shouting ‘Three cheers for India’.
There were tight security arrangements for the Pakistani contingent with hundreds of security personnel from CISF and black commandos maintaining a vigil as the players landed at the airport.
The Pakistan contingent includes manager Intikhab Alam, the experienced former Test captain and a high profile security manager.
Due to the delay in their arrival, the Pakistan team has missed out on a warm-up match against Bengal which was scheduled for yesterday. They will now play a practice game against Sri Lanka here on Monday.
Their first match of the main tournament will be held at Eden Gardens on March 16 against a qualifier team, followed by the marquee clash against arch-rival India at the same venue on March 19.
They will then take on New Zealand (March 22) and Australia (March 25) in their remaining Group B matches — both in Mohali.
The Pakistan team was to fly out on Wednesday but the government put their departure on hold, citing security concerns. On Thursday, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan ruled out sending the team until special security assurances were met from India.
With agency inputs