Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, who has indulged in on and off-field spats with Gautam Gambhir, has claimed that he was always a fan of Gambhir the batsman and only disliked Gambhir the human. Earlier, team India’s former physio Paddy Upton, too, had been critical of Gambhir’s attitude.
Shahid Afridi and Gautam Gambhir were two cricketers who, during their international careers, played with their heart on their sleeves, but despite seemingly being cricketers of the highest quality, the duo shared mutual hatred for each other that overflowed during their clashes. Their spat peaked in an ODI between India and Pakistan in Kanpur in 2007, when the two barged shoulders and indulged in a heated verbal battle that is, till date, widely regarded as one of the biggest ‘fights’ on a cricket field. Post their cricketing careers, too, Gambhir and Afridi have exchanged blows through interviews and Tweets, although often on non-cricketing matters.
But in an interview with popular journalist Zainab Abbas, Afridi interestingly claimed that he has, always, in fact, admired Gambhir the cricketer and only ever had problems with the human side of the southpaw.
“As a cricketer, as a batsman, I’ve liked him always but as a human being he sometimes says certain things, gives certain treatment that you feel just let it be, he has some problems. His physio has already highlighted that,” Afridi said of Gambhir, reported News18.
Afridi, though, is not the only one to question Gambhir’s attitude and approach. Earlier, former physio of the Indian cricket team, Paddy Upton, had described Gambhir as the ‘weakest’ and the ‘most insecure’ cricketer he had ever come across.
“Using the popular notion of mental toughness, he was one of the weakest and mentally most insecure’ people I have worked with,” Upton had written.
Gambhir, however, immediately refuted Upton’s claims and said that he always came off as an unsatisfied individual purely because of the fact that he wanted to raise the bar every time he stepped onto the field.
“I wanted myself and Indian team to be the best in the world. That’s why I was not satisfied even after scoring 100 as it has been mentioned in Paddy’s book. I see nothing wrong there. As a driven individual, I have tried to raise the bar for myself alone,” the left-hander had said.