For fans, an India versus Pakistan series was much more than just cricket, it was similar for the players, albeit from a different perspective. Players from either nation over the years have shared great camaraderie off the field, and have maintained that friendship long after bilateral cricket series has stopped. Earlier this week, former Indian cricketer and presently an analyst Aakash Chopra recalled the time when former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had present t-shirts to the visiting Indian side back in 2004.
“I don’t think there has ever been any issues between the two teams. I remember when we came to Pakistan for the series in 2004. In Multan, Inzy bhai (Inzamam ul-haq) has his house. As far as I recall, he also had a garment factory where t-shirts were made. He came and gave us all a bundle of t-shirts. We all wore it later,” Chopra said in a conversation with Pakistan broadcaster Sawera Pasha on her Youtube channel Cric Cast.
“If you talk just about players, and leave everything aside, there has never been an issue and there will never be an issue. We all are players, we all know each other, we play cricket, this is our work, so there is no reason for a fight,” he further added.
Chopra further talked about his friendship with a fellow former cricketer of Pakistan, Shoaib Akhtar.
“Actually, we were really good friends. Shoaib Akhtar and I are still really good friends. I still speak to him for hours. Whenever I am on a call for a few hours, my wife knows that I am speaking to Shoaib, and they are just having a long chat," he said.
“Shoaib and I have a really great bond because he came here and worked with me for Star Sports, so we spent really good time together. We travelled together, we sat for dinner together, we had long conversations. During IPL as well, we had a great bond. We had Mohammad Hafeez, Salman Butt and Umar Gul in our team. We never felt even once that there was any sort of tension. There was no issue between any players,” he added.