Afridi's state­ment will en­sure less hos­til­ity to­wards Pak­istan, says Gavaskar

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

For­mer In­dian cap­tain Su­nil Gavaskar be­lieves Shahid Afridi's re­cent state­ment may turn out to be a stroke of ge­nius that will en­sure less hos­til­ity to­wards the Pak­istan team when they play at the Eden Gar­dens in Kolkata.

"Emo­tions al­ways run high when there is a ques­tion of Pak­istan and In­dia," Gavaskar told me­dia. "What Shahid Afridi said, he has ob­vi­ously got re­ac­tions in Pak­istan, but I look at it as a good way to en­sure less hos­til­ity to­wards the Pak­istan team." Pak­istan's Twenty20 skip­per came un­der fire for his com­ments at a press con­fer­ence in Kolkata in which he said, "we are more loved in In­dia than in Pak­istan".

The com­ments drew sharp crit­i­cism in Pak­istan, with some for­mer play­ers con­demn­ing the skip­per for "de­grad­ing his coun­try­men".

But for Gavaskar, this may have been strate­gic move by the Pak­istan cap­tain to win over the Eden Gar­dens crowd.

"You say nice things about In­dian pub­lic; maybe you mean it, maybe you don't mean it. But what it will do, it will cer­tainly help as far as the crowd is con­cerned.

"The crowd will not be overly hos­tile to Afridi and the Pak­istani team. That can ac­tu­ally work well for Pak­istan," said the 66-year-old In­dian bat­ting leg­end.

Gavaskar, who av­er­aged a pro­lific 51.12 in 125 Tests for In­dia, said some­times play­ing in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment could do won­ders for a team.

"It can work some­times and you can ac­tu­ally lift your game to such an ex­tent that you want to si­lence the hos­tile crowd," he said.

"Or some­times it can have the op­po­site ef­fect where you just get so over­whelmed by the hos­til­ity that you don't play your nat­u­ral game and end up play­ing into the crowd's hand."

The for­mer In­dian cap­tain termed Afridi's state­ment as "a very fine way to win the Eden crowd on their side".

But he added that Afridi's state­ment might be sin­cere and re­flected his ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing in the first edi­tion of the In­dian Premier League.

"Afridi is some­body who speaks his heart, he doesn't mince his words and he prob­a­bly was speak­ing from his ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing in In­dia," said Gavaskar.

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