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Why Pakistani players feel safer in India than back home

by Gaurav Sethi

The events of the last few days have left governments, cricket boards and the ICC in a tizzy. The Pakistani players though, it appears, have been quite blasé about the security concerns that have engulfed their World T20 match against India.
It has now been learnt that overall Pakistani cricketers feel much safer in India than back home. There was a time when Pakistan players were both notorious and world famous, literally household names in India.
Hark back to the days of Imran Khan, Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad. Now however, it has come to pass, most people in India don't even recognise who these Pakistani cricketers are.
Out of a sample size of 1000 persons, approximately 990 did not know who Sharjeel Khan and Khurram Manzoor were - it was later learnt that the ten persons who were aware of Khan and Manzoor, only knew of them because they worked with cricket websites and had updated the scorecards for the India-Pakistan Asia Cup match on February 27, in Bangladesh.
The sample size also included politically inclined troublemakers, one of whom excitedly said that he knew Khurram Manzoor and he was a qawali singer from Pakistan, he proudly continued, saying he had only recently disrupted Manzoor's performance in Mumbai.
Not being famous in India has gone down well with most Pakistani cricketers, except for Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik. When asked about Afridi, most respondents said he was a retired cricketer, whereas in their opinion Malik was not a cricketer but Sania Mirza's stay-at-home husband.
Pakistan T20 skipper, Afridi, rambled for a good few minutes: "It's good thanks to the almighty that we feels safer in the Indias but honestlys we are more welcomes back homes but what you do if it's a toss between feelings safers or welcomes players will chooses to feels safers you only tell me Ramiz bhai...(he said more out of habit than anything) the things is that in India is a big country and we are lookings like Indians only so even if someone is trying to beat us up or cause abuses or voliences he has to recognise us and it is saddening that most Indians are thinkings that I am retireds cricketers of no good values whatsoevers."
Apart from an overall indifference towards Pakistani cricketers, another reason for their safety is the large deployment of security personnel across the country.
Shoaib Malik explains: "Whenever I step out with my wife, Sania, I am amazed at the security cover around. Not just for her but for ordinary citizens and non citizens like me too hehehe... that is why I always tell Sania you stay in India or we will catch up in Dubai, or maybe, London, Paris, New York."
Mohammad Amir, who has only recently returned to international cricket, said he felt quite safe even when he was in jail, so it was not for a petty criminal like him to comment on security in India.
Virat Kohli said he did not want to comment on a serious matter like security but did add tongue firmly in cheek, "We can promise you one thing, when the two teams play each other on March 19, at Eden Gardens, every Indian on the field will do his very best to make every Pakistani on the field feel insecure..."
(However plausible this might sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)

First published here

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