The world is eagerly waiting for the Asia Cup 2022 clash between India and Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday. It would be interesting to see how both teams perform under high-pressure situations. On Thursday, Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq addressed a press conference where he spoke about the bowling attack and also spoke about how the now-viral picture of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam sends out a positive message.
On Wednesday, both Indian and Pakistan cricket teams practiced and it was then that Virat Kohli was seen interacting with Babar Azam. The picture has now gone viral on social media. Earlier this year, Babar had shown support for Virat, when the batter was going through a lean patch in England.
“Some years back, I went to play an All-Star Game, there were top 25 cricketers of the world and we were playing together. Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne got everyone together, that time around, I had put out a tweet. That match was being followed by just Indian and Pakistan cricket fans in America. Both Indian and Pakistan fans had stitched together flags and they were displaying it in unison,” Saqlain said during a media interaction on Thursday.
“I had tweeted then that it is just not cricket and entertainment. It helps people understand so many things, it is bringing everyone together. When we play matches, emotions run high. But this game also helps in giving lessons about humanity. I think yesterday’s picture between Babar and Virat gives a good message,” he added.
When further asked about whether Babar has helped in easing tension around an India-Pakistan game, Saqlain said: “It is entertainment, it is a sport. The emotions run high, but at the end of the day, it is a sport. We are trying to spread the message of love and kindness. That is why players from both countries mingle with each other.”
Ace speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi has been ruled out of the Asia Cup due to an injury and it would be interesting to see how the likes of Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, and Haris Rauf perform.
“For a very long time, these three (Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, and Haris) have been executing the plans and requirements of the Pakistan cricket team. The captain and I as head coach have full confidence in them. There is no need to worry, Shaheen used to lead the attack but unfortunately, he is not here because of injury. They can change the game on their day,” said Saqlain.