Gavaskar feels Afridi was trying to pacify Indian crowd

Mar 15, 2016
INDIA-ARTS-MUSIC ISLAMABAD: Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar feels Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi's comments that he felt more loved in India than in Pakistan, were part of his plans to please the Eden Gardens Kolkata crowd ahead of the clash against India on Saturday, Indian daily newspaper reported. Gavaskar expects Afridi's kind words to have the desired effect as he feels the Kolkata crowd might just take it easy on Afridi's men. "If you have a hostile crowd, it can also lift your game but if you are overwhelmed by a hostile crowd, you don't play your natural game, you play into crowd's hands. This is a fine way to win the Eden crowd. Having played in the IPL, he may have meant what he said," Times of India quoted Gavaskar as saying. "Emotions run high before an India-Pakistan match. What Shahid said was a good way to say nice things about Indian public. The crowd at Eden Gardens will not be hostile towards Pakistan." Afridi's comments weren't taken too lightly though in Pakistan with fans venting their fury on social media websites such as Twitter. Afridi, who was already under the criticism following Pakistan's dismal showing at the Asia Cup, was also lambasted by former skipper and coach Javed Miandad. Gavaskar, however, feels that Miandad's reaction emanated from the fact that he was someone who played with his heart on the sleeve, especially when it came to matches against arch-rivals India. "When Miandad played for Pakistan, he played with his whole heart. He gave 200 percent when he played against India. He always had that invisible Pakistan flag with him. So he was miffed with Shahid, saying nice things," Gavaskar said. The former Indian skipper advised Pakistan to turn their focus quickly back to on-field matters if they are to avoid a similar fate as the one they faced in Bangladesh. "Shahid and his boys need to focus on cricket. They must play at a much higher level than Asia Cup and silence their critics," Gavaskar said. –APP

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