While India grapples to combat the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, certain Indian cricketers have come out and appealed for citizens to donate to Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi’s foundation. While Pakistan itself is not bothered enough to combat the crisis effectively, as it allows Mosques to continue to operate regardless of the threat it poses, former Indian cricketers such as Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh are voicing their support for the Shahid Afridi Foundation despite the fact that the Pakistani cricketer on numerous occasions has made crass remarks about India and Hindus.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said that the Shahid Afridi Foundation was doing ‘great work’ and urged people to contribute whatever they could in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis.
The world is passing through extremely testing and unprecedented times.Let’s do our bit to help @SAfridiOfficial @SAFoundationN doing gr8 work plz join hands with them nd contribute what ever u can https://t.co/t9OvfEPp79 for covid19 @wasimakramlive @YUVSTRONG12 @shoaib100mph pic.twitter.com/sB2fxCAQqY— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) March 29, 2020
Yuvraj Singh said, “These are testing times, it’s time to look out for each other especially the ones who are lesser fortunate.” He further stated that he was supporting the Shahid Afridi Foundation for the ‘noble initiative of Covid19’.
These are testing times, it’s time to lookout for each other specially the ones who are lesser fortunate. Lets do our bit, I am supporting @SAfridiOfficial & @SAFoundationN in this noble initiative of covid19. Pls donate on https://t.co/yHtpolQbMx #StayHome @harbhajan_singh pic.twitter.com/HfKPABZ6Wh— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) March 31, 2020
Shahid Afridi, in the past, has made several disgraceful comments in the past against Hindus and India. He once said in an interview that he had smashed a TV set after he saw his child enacting a scene from a serial. In a derogatory manner, he said “pata nahi kya karte hai thaali leke yu yu” while gesticulating his hands in a circular motion. He then says that when he saw his children doing that while watching the serial (aarti) he lost his temper and smashed the television set on the wall.
In the backdrop of the Indian government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Afridi had tweeted in support of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal to show solidarity with Kashmiri. He had also announced his visit to LOC and shaheed’s home, which in all likelihood implied visiting the home of a person who is recognized as a terrorist by India. Afridi has also called for United Nation’s (UN) intervention to resolve the Kashmir issue and had called India “oppressive” on its policy in Kashmir.
“Innocents [are] being shot down by [an] oppressive regime to clamp [down on] the voice of self-determination & independence,” Afridi tweeted. Afridi also termed the situation “appalling and worrisome”, in the “Indian Occupied Kashmir”, and urged United Nations and other international agencies to step in to prevent what he termed “bloodshed.” In a similar anti-India rant, the Pakistani cricketer had once said that Indians are not as large-hearted as Pakistanis. Afridi also slammed the Indian media for its “very negative approach” and said the Pakistani media was a “hundred times better” than its Indian counterpart.
Shahid Afridi once mentioned that when Pakistani cricketers are facing Indian cricketers on the ground, their orders are clear: “go and destroy them, almost like a suicide bomber does”. Shahid Afridi’s book, ‘Game Changer’, which he co-authored with Wajahat Khan, denigrates Gautam Gambhir as someone who “has no personality or great records, just a lot of attitude.” Afridi’s anger towards Gambhir is understandable as the Indian opener’s brilliant knock in the 2007 T20 World Cup final had contributed greatly towards Pakistan’s defeat.
For all his bravado, Shahid Afridi is extremely scared of China. In December last year, after urging Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to raise the issue of Uighur persecution in China and reminding him that “talk of uniting the Muslim ummah includes our brothers & sisters in China too”, Shahid Afridi had proceeded to delete the tweet.
Under such circumstances, Indian cricketers asking people to donate to the Shahid Afridi Foundation does leave a bitter taste in the mouth as Pakistan is a country that has not been serious at all about tackling the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the Shahid Afridi Foundation does not even have an India chapter. It has chapters in countries such as the USA, the United Kingdom and Canada. Thus, it does come across as a certain lack of shame and sensibility on the part of former Indian cricketers to ask Indians to donate to the Shahid Afridi Foundation at a time when India itself is struggling with the crisis.