Pakistan

KOLKATA (Staff Report) – A day after creating a furore back home with his “love for India” statement, Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi skipped the team’s training session on Tuesday, ahead of ICC World Twenty20 opener against Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Shahid Afridi was running a fever in the morning, Pakistani team manager Intikhab Alam said. “He over trained himself yesterday (Monday). He’s had a slight fever in the morning and we opted to give him rest,” Alam said as the rest of the Pakistani camp trained for more than two hours in the morning.

The skipper’s absence from the training session sparked the rumours that he might miss the opening match against Bangladesh, scheduled on March 16 (Wednesday).

Later, giving an update on Afridi, the team manager confirmed that Afridi will play the Wednesday’s match.

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For his statement that he got “more love” in India than in Pakistan, Afridi received much flak back home on Monday with the legendary Javed Mianadad blasting him “shame on you”.

Afridi, meanwhile, sought to douse the fire by saying that he did not intend to demean his nation and was merely trying to give a “positive message” by showing respect to the fans.

Pakistani head coach Waqar Younis, however, said it’s nothing to do with the controversy and added: “It’s not like that. He was not feeling well in the morning… So it’s better to take rest. It’s hot and humid out there.”

The highlight of the training session was pacer Mohammad Sami, who did rounds of the stadium and seemed to have recovered from his toe injury, the Online reported.

Sami, who was hit on his toes by a local bowler during their practice on Sunday, missed their warm-up match against Sri Lanka on Monday that they won by 15 runs.