Shahid Afridi tests positive; Gambhir and Misbah react
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi took to social media on Saturday to confirm that he has been tested positive for the global pandemic which has put the world to a stop.
In a tweet posted on Saturday afternoon, the 40-year-old said that he had been feeling unwell since Thursday and has now been diagnosed with the disease, becoming the second Pakistan international cricketer after Taufeeq Umar to contract it.
“I’ve been feeling unwell since Thursday; my body had been aching badly. I’ve been tested and unfortunately I’m covid positive. Need prayers for a speedy recovery, InshaAllah,” he wrote.
It is said that at least two Pakistani first-class cricketers, including leg-spinner Riaz Sheikh, have died of the disease. Sheikh, in fact, passed away in Karachi earlier this month.
It was only last month that Afridi had bought Mushfiqur Rahim’s bat in a charity for the victims of the pandemic. The auction, which had Mushfiqur’s bat that he had used to score Bangladesh's first Test double hundred in 2013 against Sri Lanka, was derailed by fake bids, with the price rising to over USD 50,000.
"Afridi contacted me personally and I sent him a link of the bid," he said in an online forum.
"On May 13 he sent me a letter and offered USD 20,000. He bought my bat with this money. I am really privileged," he said.
Meanwhile, former Indian cricketer, Gautam Gambhir, who has had his political differences with Afridi in the past, reacted to the news, saying that he wants him to recover as soon as possible.
“Nobody should be infected with this virus. I have political differences with Shahid Afridi but I want him to recover as soon as possible. But more than Afridi I want every person infected in my country to get well as soon as possible,” Gauram Gambhir said.
“I have to worry about the people in my country. Pakistan has offered to help India but they need to provide help in their own country first. They have offered to help and I am thankful for that but first they need to eradicate the cross-border terrorism.”
Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq also said a few words.
“My prayers & well wishes are with Shahid Afridi. May Allah help him recover soon. He was doing a lot of charity work in Balochistan & Northern Areas for people of those regions. Throughout this situation he's been helping the poor and has been doing an excellent job,” Misbah was quoted as saying.
Afridi, who retired from international cricket in 2017, has scored 8,064 runs in ODIs, 1,716 runs in Tests and 1,416 in the shortest format of the game for Pakistan. With the ball, he finished his career with 395 wickets in ODI and 48 and 98 wickets in Tests and T20Is respectively.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Money Sharma