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Afridi's latest: Non Resident Pakistanis love me more than Pakistanis

by Gaurav Sethi

For a man who stays clear of reading newspapers, Pakistan Twenty20 captain, Shahid Afridi sure likes to make headlines. Just the other day, Afridi caused quite a stir when he said that the love he had received in India was more than the love he had got in Pakistan.

This of course didn't go unnoticed, not that Afridi intended it to. First to lash out at him was former star batsman, Javed Miandad. Rest of the Pakistan cricket fraternity followed. Only coach Waqar Younis sprang to Afridi’s defence.

The story seemed to have settled but then a Pak lawyer served Afridi with a legal notice. Not one to back down, Afridi decided to turn it on again. If pitting Pakistanis against Indians wasn't enough, Afridi has now decided to pit Pakistanis against Pakistanis. His latest comment goes so far as to say that NRPs (Non Resident Pakistanis) love the team more than those living back home. Afridi, easily carried away at the best of times, refused to stop there: he went on to shoot his mouth further making a differential even amongst NRPs.

"I sees it clearly, there are those NRPs in Dubai and Sharjah who are going to the stadiums every Friday like a pilgrimage to watch team play or practices even when team is not playing or practices. Just you sees when the Pakistani teams is playing in the Indians subcontinent the diehard fans will go to support their teams in the Dubai and the Sharhah stadiums. This I have not seen in NRPs in England or America who will not support us in Sharhah and Dubai even when we ares playing there internationals or local league match like it is in the PSL...and they are rich doctors, engineers and wealthy persons with money to go to Bali and Phuket and even far, far away places like Kyoto"

Afridi's tirade against his countrymen appeared to have ended when his latest partner in crime, Shoaib Malik decided to back the captain, not for the first time. Malik is of the opinion that NRPs are much more liberal and have not just accepted his marriage to Sania Mirza but even blessed it. According to him, in the west it was quite common for the old foes to tie the knot. "Some of my very good friends are Pakistanis who have married Indians and they are living happily in the US or the UK or in other places around the world. I even know of Indo-Pak couples living in the subcontinent and that is quite brave of them"

Malik refused to agree with his captain that the NRPs in the Middle East loved the team more than NRPs elsewhere. “Those are Shahid Bhais personal opinions and as a younger brother I respect them but don’t always agree with them"

When reminded that his ‘elder brother’ had once referred to him as Deemak, he smiled and said, “Toh usme kya badi baat hai, I have called him worse”

Afridi’s latest comments have angered Miandad again. The former cricketer did clarify that his son's in-laws who live in both Pakistan and the Emirates are an exception to the rule. When The Don was called for a comment, his wife answered, claiming he was asleep.
When a reporter asked Afridi if NRPs loved the team more than Indians, he said " Obviously, if they love more than the Pakistanis than they love more than Indians. You do the maths, Ramiz Bhai (he said more out of habit than anything).

Umair Khan Qazi, a wealthy NRP businessman, in Dubai, has decided to celebrate Afridi's latest comments by throwing a big bash on the top floor of the Burj Khalifa. Afridi has promised to attend as long as his World T20 schedule doesn't come in the way.

Shahid Afridi struck form both with the bat and ball against Bangladesh, and was declared Man of the Match. Not to be pinned down in the worst of times, a buoyant Boom Boom shot from the hip yet again, “Now nobodies can stop me from my big hitting and big talking, just you wait Professor Hafeez”. When asked if this was a dig at the movie, Sound of Music, Afridi disagreed, “It is sound of me and that is music to my years, all 36 of them”

Afridi also let us in on a little secret saying in addition to the Arms-Outstretched celebration he had plans for the marquee clash against India at Eden Gardens – “If all goes well, will sticks to arms outstretched celebration, if all goes bad will sticks to the legs outstretched celebration”

(However plausible this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)

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