On the backfoot after his team’s loss to arch-rivals India in Kolkata last week, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi chose to raise an unexpected controversy – raking up Kashmir, of all things – before the start of a World T20 match against New Zealand yesterday.Asked by former Pakistan cricket captain and now commentator Rameez Raja if he and his team had support from the crowds, Afridi said that “a lot of people are here for Kashmir”. (Shahid Afridi hints at retirement after Australia game in World T20 )”It seems you have a bit of fan following here in Mohali,” Raja remarked after Afridi lost the toss in the match against New Zealand.”Ya, a lot of people, a lot of people are here from Kashmir as well. And I want to thanks people of Kolkata, they really support us as well,” Afridi said at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium just before the start of the Pakistan vs New Zealand group match.Afridi had found himself in the midst of a controversy a few days back when he stated that the Pakistan cricket team got more love in India than in Pakistan. The statement led to Afridi’s criticism in Pakistan, especially from former cricketers like Javed Miandad.Pakistan was beaten by India at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens ground on Saturday.
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