Former Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi openly supported the Taliban amid its takeover of Afghanistan and called them 'positive' energy. The former all-rounder highlighted that the outfit was supporting women this time and even 'liked cricket.' He also expressed his hopes to see better equations with the neighbouring nation on the cricket field.
Shahid Afridi shared his opinion about the future of cricket in Afghanistan in a recent media interaction.
"They have come with a very positive frame of mind, which we have not seen before. We can see things moving towards positivity. Women are being allowed to work and being permitted for politics and other jobs," the 44-year-old said.
He also stated that though the cricket series with Afghanistan and Pakistan could not be held due to the tense situation, he believed the Taliban 'liked cricket a lot.'
Former Indian captain and Member of Parliament Gautam Gambhir, who had faced off with Afridi on the field in the past, too had expressed his opinion on the situation of cricket in Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover. He had highlighted how the team, known for stars like Rashid Khan, was improving and hoped the Taliban do not hamper cricket in the nation
Speaking to Republic TV, he had said. "According to me, the Afghanistan cricket team is one of those teams, who is improving day by day. They have performed really well in a short time. I would request them (Taliban) not to hamper Afghanistan cricket. Cricket and sports are different things from politics and they should be kept separate."
When asked if the Taliban will promote cricket, the East Delhi MP said, "I would not comment on Taliban but would like to say that Afghanistan cricket team is very talented. Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman and Mohammad Nabi can be part of any team because of their talent. This talent shouldn't be rusted."
The Taliban extended their support to the Afghanistan cricket team as well. This was confirmed through Taliban leader Anas Haqqani meeting the team's captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, cricketer Noor Ali Zadran and former cricket board selection committee chairman Asadullah Khan. Haqqani stated that the Islamic Emirate laid the foundation of cricket in Afghanistan.