Many a sportsman has graced a fundraising event but very few actually donate to the cause they’re promoting.
The Shahid Afridi Foundation held its annual fundraising dinner at Chak89 restaurant in London, whereby the Pakistan Test team’s main strike bowler Mohammad Amir and the world’s No1 T20 bowler Imad Wasim showed the fortitude they’re made of.
Both players have donated a substantial amount to the hospital the foundation is building in Thar. When the foundation’s president, former T20 captain Shahid Afridi announced that one of the hospital wards would be named in their honour, Imad Wasim reacted modestly, “It’s not something we intended to publicise, the fact that we are helping people is all that matters.”
Ahead of Imad’s second Caribbean Premier League outing and Amir’s current county stint with Essex, they were asked whom their favourite player was, with Wasim Akram being the expected choice. Whilst Amir acknowledged Akram to be his cricketing role model, Imad surprised one and all by admitting his favourite all-rounder has always been Shahid Afridi.
Whilst, back home, the Champions Trophy winnning squad has been documented attending many events in their honour, Mohammad Amir has been conspicuous by his absence. Teaming up with former England Test captain Alistair Cook at Essex, he said he would be happy to meet his fans once he returns to Pakistan.
Accompanied by former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq on the stage, the most telling part of the evening was during the question and answer session with the public.
Imad Wasim was asked to say the oft-repeated taunt ‘Mauka, Mauka’ to which he gave a mature reaction.
“I don’t know what this phrase means but even if we beat India in the Champions Trophy, we need to be humble and Allah will give us more mouke.”
Both he and Mohammad Amir had a similar response when asked, given the opportunity, which other team they would play for.
Mohammad Amir’s wife is British and Imad Wasim was born in the UK, so potentially, both could qualify for England were they to fulfill some residential requirements.
But British fans will be sorely disappointed to hear their Pakistan-patriotic responses.
Mohammed Amir said it is always about Pakistan and Imad Wasim said that even if he were paid a large sum of money to do so, he would never take that option.
On the sidelines of his current signing with Hampshire in the NatWest T20 blast, Shahid Afridi spoke of his belief in Pakistan cricket’s future. “When I spoke to captain Sarfraz Ahmed during the early stages of the Champions Trophy, I was impressed by his positivity. Now I see the talented Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim as playing crucial roles ahead.”
The auction included a shirt signed by Indian Test captain Virat Kohli’s men as well as two bats signed by the CT squad.
Whilst official figures for the amount raised have yet to be confirmed, the support of his former team-mates means Shahid Afridi’s goodwill will play a large part in securing funds for future projects.