Indians love us more than Pakistanis, says Afridi

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The Pakistani cricket team finally arrived in India for the World T20 tournament—three days behind schedule—after the Pakistani government gave the nod.

Senior Pakistani players Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik quickly steered the attention from politics to cricket during the team’s first media interaction on Sunday.

“Let me say that we are more loved here than in Pakistan. Cricket brings the two countries closer, so there’s nothing like playing cricket with India,” said Afridi.

Shahid Afridi, who has had an illustrious career and contributed immensely to the game of cricket, told The Times of India (TOI) that he will retire after the tournament. “We are not politicians,” he responded when asked whether the team disagreed with the Pakistani government’s concern over security.

“We are cricketers and will go by the decision of the state. But as cricketers, we love playing in India because of the love we get here,” he added.

Shoaib Malik, who is also Indian tennis star Sania Mirza’s husband, told TOI “My wife is from India and I visit the country a lot. I’ve got a lot of love in India and it’s an honour to be in India.” He reportedly added that he saw no difference between Pakistanis and Indians. “We eat the same food, speak the same language. I don’t really see any difference,” he said.

Malik reconfirmed that the security provided to the team was very good. He said, “I have never faced any security issue in India.”

“I am in the last stage of my long career and let me tell you that I’ve not enjoyed playing anywhere as much as I have in India. This experience is something that I will always remember,” said an emotional Afridi to TOI.

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