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Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has revealed that his relationship with India opener Gautam Gambhir still remains frosty.
Things between Afridi and Gambhir turned sour back in 2007 when the duo were involved in a heated spat during an ODI in Kanpur.
The incident started when Gambhir collided with Afridi, who was bowling at the time, when running a single. This prompted a verbal battle between the pair and umpire Ian Gould had to intervene to stop it from escalating into something more serious.
Afridi insists that he has put the confrontation in the past, but pointed out that Gambhir “can’t get over it”.
“Contrary to popular belief, India and Pakistan players get along very well. Of course, there are exceptions like Gautam Gambhir, who dare I say isn’t the friendliest,” Afridi wrote in a column for the International Cricket Council (ICC). “We are unlikely to be found together at a coffee shop anytime soon.
“We had a heated exchange on the field some years ago and it made headlines all over the world. While I have moved on in life as I feel these things are part and parcel of the game, Gautam for some reason can’t get over it. Good luck to him!”
Despite his bitter relations with Gambhir, Afridi made it clear that his feelings towards Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan are a lot more amicable.
“The three are my good mates and we have some wonderful memories together from the times when both the sides used to play and tour each other on a regular basis,” Afridi wrote. “In the early days of our careers, we used to hang out together quite a lot and also spend time at each other’s homes. Now, all of us are married and, as such, responsibilities and the priority lists have changed.
“But whenever we catch-up, we meet with warmth and love, and remember our good times together.”
Meanwhile, the 37-year-old, who retired from international cricket earlier this year, admitted that it was a shame that Pakistan and India don’t play each other on a regular basis.
The last bilateral Test series between the two nations came in 2007 and even though Pakistan did visit India for a limited overs series in 2012, they have only faced each other at ICC events or Asia Cup tournaments.
The next time the arch-rivals lock horns will be at the Champions Trophy, with Pakistan and India scheduled to go head to head on June 4 at Edgbaston.
“Unfortunately, we don’t meet each other that often now due to the prevailing relations between the two countries,” Afridi conceded. “But I miss the good times with my Indian cricket friends and I am sure they feel likewise.
“Hopefully, the situation will improve soon so that the old friends can reunite to relive old memories. I recall during one of India’s tours to Pakistan, I invited the entire India team to my Karachi house. We prepared special Pathan-style rich food, full of lamb and mutton dishes.
“When the food was served, there was a complete silence in the room and my Indian friends were looking at each other. At that point, I realised that my honourable and respectable guests don’t eat that type of food.
“Quite a few of them were vegetarians, and so, we had to urgently replace the food with Daal (lentils) and vegetables dishes.
“It was quite embarrassing for me to not know about the dietary requirements of the guests since our similarity of culture made me take many things for granted. That was a funny memory of my ‘hospitality’ for the Indian team.”