Their ‘bromance’ began a while ago and with the passage of time, it has gotten better and better. Former Indian captain Virat Kohli and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s warm friendship is built on mutual respect. And it best epitomises sport — foes on the field and friends off it.
The pair had met up on the first day of training for the Asia Cup at the ICC Cricket Academy on Wednesday and the duo shook hands and spoke for a bit before rejoining their respective squads.
The ‘meeting’ sent social media into a frenzy with the act winning hearts across both sides of the border.
And Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq hailed their friendship and said that it sends out the message of love, peace and humanity.
Previously, when the two sides used to meet on the field, tensions used to run high. Mushtaq himself had witnessed it from close quarters. But now, Mushtaq believes acts such as these have helped tone down the tension and create a great camaraderie not just between the two but also the two teams.
“It should,” Mushtaq said when asked about such acts helping a thaw in relations.
“It is a game, it is entertainment, matches happen between two countries and there is bound to be passion running. But, at the end of the day, it is a game and it should be enjoyed. And I feel that all the players, especially Pakistan and India, should send out a message of love, care and kindness,” he added.
Mushtaq also recalled a memorable instance when he was part of a Cricket All-Stars series in the USA in 2015. Mushtaq was in the Warne’s Warriors team led by the late spin wizard Shane Warne, while the other team, known as Sachin’s Blasters, was led by Sachin Tendulkar,
“A few years ago, I went to play All Star cricket and there were 25 big names there and Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar were there too. The fans in the US who came to watch the game were from Pakistan and India and fans of both the countries had stitched the Pakistan and Indian flags together. It was not like they were just holding it together, they had stitched it and had held the flags together," remembered Mushtaq.
"And in the next game, they brought together flags from other countries as well. And back then, I had tweeted that this is not just cricket and entertainment, it is making us aware and making us understand that cricket is bringing humanity together.
“Yes, during a game, there are different emotions and passion for our respective countries but such acts also send a message of love and humanity. And yesterday’s visuals (of Kohli meeting Azam) displayed that aptly,” he added.
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