New Delhi: In a spectacular triumph against their arch-rivals at the 2023 Cricket World Cup, India batter Virat Kohli gifted a signed jersey to Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, showcasing mutual respect and camaraderie between the cricketing titans beyond the pitch.
The gesture offered a post-game moment of joy to the passionate fans, who had turned up in high numbers at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad to witness the greatest rivalry.
In a one-sided match, India thumped Pakistan by seven wickets in front of a capacity crowd in Ahmedabad, jumping on top of the points table.
Following the game, Babar and Kohli were spotted engaged in a conversation on the field. During this exchange, Kohli graciously presented Babar with a couple of India jerseys.
The light-hearted moment received wide appreciation from fans on social media, but not everyone was impressed as the former Pakistan fast-bowler Wasim Akram wasn’t too pleased with the public display of camaraderie by Babar after a heavy loss.
The 57-year-old slammed Babar for getting t-shirts from Kohli on the field and said if Babar had to ask Kohli for shirts, it should’ve been done in the dressing room.
Speaking at the experts panel in The Pavilion, a Pakistan TV show, Akram was read out a fan question by host. “I can see Babar is receiving two shirts from Virat Kohli,” the question read as quoted by Wisden. “Everybody is showing this clip over and over again. But after your fans are so hurt after a disappointing performance, this should be a private matter, it should not be done in an open ground.”
Agreeing with the fan’s sentiment, Akram replied: “That’s what I exactly said when I saw the picture… Today was not the day to do this. If you want to do it – if your uncle’s son has asked you to get Kohli’s shirt – then do it after the game in the dressing room.”
Notably, Saturday’s matchup was the eighth time India and Pakistan have met at a men’s Cricket World Cup and the eighth time that India have come out on top.
Victory moves India to the top of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 table, ahead of New Zealand on net run rate, with both teams having won three from three.
Pakistan remains fourth and well in the hunt for a semi-final spot despite the disappointing nature of this defeat.