India Insight

Afridi’s remarks create ripples off cricket pitch

Maverick Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi is best known for his “boom boom” batting and for scoring the fastest hundred in the 50-over version of the game.

Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi catches a ball during a practice session in Pallekele March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-ReynoldsHowever, he is now creating ripples off the cricket pitch for his remarks against India, at a time when the two countries, who have been to war three times since independence, attempt to resume dialogue at the highest level.

Speaking to Pakistan-based Samaa TV, Afridi, the joint highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded cricket World Cup, said on Tuesday it was difficult to maintain good long-term relations with India.

The remarks come a week after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited his Pakistani counterpart to watch the arch-rivals battle it out in the semi-final of the showpiece event at Mohali.

“If I have to tell the truth, Indians cannot have the kind of hearts that Pakistani Muslims have,” Afridi said a week after Pakistan were knocked out by India. “They cannot have the big and clean hearts that Allah has given to Pakistanis,” Afridi told the TV channel amid raucous applause from the studio audience.

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