Sana Mir, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar all are now bigger fans of Virat Kohli, ‘show of grace in defeats wins Pakistani hearts’

India had a terrible day on the field on Sunday. Losing to Pakistan by 10 wickets, a humiliation India never suffered against their arch-rivals in a World Cup. However, India skipper Virat Kohli despite bitter rivalry wasn’t a sore loser. He appreciated Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam’s efforts, embracing their victory. Kohli’s gesture and words won hearts in Pakistan, prompting former cricketers Wasim Khan, Sana Mir and Shoaib Akhtar to laud Kohli’s gesture and show grace in bitter defeat.

After the thrashing, Virat Kohli looked disappointed but didn’t lose grace. He embraced Mohammad Rizwan who slammed 79 off 55 balls. He also congratulated Pakistan skipper Babar Azam saying there is no shame in accepting defeat and that Pakistan played better than India.

“They were very professional. You have to give them credit, we tried out best. We tried to create enough pressure but they had the answers. No shame in accepting that a team played better than you.”

That is where Virat Kohli won Shoaib Akhtar’s heart. The Rawalpindi Express praised Kohli for his gesture towards Rizwan and Azam.

“For the cricketer in me, the biggest moment was when Babar Azam hit those winning runs against Mohammad Shami. But for the human in me, the biggest moment was when I saw Virat Kohli wholeheartedly congratulating Babar and Mohammad Rizwan. Or, MS Dhoni engaging with Babar, Imad Wasim and Shoaib Malik after the match got over. It will be good for a young Pakistani and Indian to seek inspiration from the skill sets their heroes possess but it will be better if they seek bigger inspirations from the human beings behind these cricketers,” Shoaib Akhtar told Zee News.

The former Pakistan women’s team captain Sana Mir became an instant fan of Virat Kohli for his gesture, lauding Kohli’s spirit of cricket and accepting a hard defeat.

“Virat Kohli handled the defeat with so much grace and I admire his sportsman’s spirit, it’s really good to see the top athletes, who are role models, behaving in the way he did. It shows a lot of security within, and it means they have a lot of confidence to bounce back so I won’t be surprised if India bounces back very quickly and in a big fashion and I hope we can see Pakistan and India play each other again in this tournament,” Sana Mir wrote in an ICC column.

Meanwhile, legendary pacer Wasim Akram said that the two teams have a lot of respect and admiration for each other. He said that only fans and media hypes the rivalry.

“Sports brings people together, I’ve been saying this all along. Pakistani boys are huge fans of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni and they would love to spend time with them,” he said as quoted by India Today.

“For these cricketers, India vs Pakistan is only a game. At the end of the day it is only a game, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. Whoever wins congratulations, bad luck and better luck next time to the losing side. Media adds fuel to the fire, that’s their job, a month before the game they start with their campaigns and ads,” he added.