World Cup 2023: With no beef, Pakistan cricketers to have chicken, mutton & fish as protein source in India
The visiting cricketers were overwhelmed by the welcome they received on Indian soil.
Pakistan cricketers arrive at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in India’s Hyderabad city ahead of the 50-over World Cup on September 27, 2023. (ANI Photo)
WITH no beef available to any of the 10 teams participating in the upcoming World Cup in India, the Pakistan cricket squad members will bank on chicken, mutton and fish for their daily protein intake during their stay in the neighbouring country.
According to a report by the PTI, the visiting team’s diet chart includes grilled lamb chops, mutton curry, butter chicken and grilled fish.
For their carbohydrate intake, the team has asked the stadium caterer for steamed basmati rice, spaghetti in Bolognese sauce, something that late Australian spinner Shane Warne savoured and vegetarian pulao. The Pakistani cricketers’ cheat meals could include the famous Hyderabadi biryani.
Pakistan cricketers touched by Indian welcome
“Zabardast. Maza aa gaya (Fabulous, we loved it),” responded Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf as he walked into the main nets of the Hyderabad Cricket Association ground on Thursday (28) and asked about “the overwhelming” welcome his team received at the airport barely 12 hours ago on Wednesday (27).
The Pakistan team received their visas on Monday (25).
Fans were heard chanting “Babar, Babar” as Pakistan captain Babar Azam led his side into the Indian city where the visitors will anchor for a while, playing their two warm-up games and the first two matches in the tournament.
The perpetual tension between the nations was clearly forgotten as fans were left in awe of Babar and Co. Within no time of their arrival, the Pakistan cricket team was “trending” in India. Babar was clearly the fans’ favourite but the entire Pakistan squad was floored by the unexpected welcome.
Barring Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Agha, it is the first visit to India for the rest of the squad.
“We did expect people to turn up at the ground but a proper welcome at the airport from fans, we did not see that coming. They had lined up for the team. It was wonderful to witness that, even the players got emotional about it,” a team source told PTI.
Insta stories from Babar and Shaheen Afridi upon their arrival in the heavily guarded team hotel in Banjara Hills summed up their emotions. “Overwhelmed with the love and support here in Hyderabad,” wrote Babar.
Shaheen added “great welcome thus far”.
Pakistan hits nets 12 hours after arrival in India
Less than 48 hours before their opening World Cup warm-up fixture against New Zealand on Friday (29) and fully aware of the task at hand, as many as 10 players including two travelling reserves turned up at the ground for the optional training session.
After warming up in the field of play, Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed were the first batch of batters to hit the nets. Bowling to them were the fearsome pace duo of Shaheen Afridi and a fit-again Haris Rauf, who bowled for the first time since the game against India in Asia Cup on September 10.
The experienced Hasan Ali, making a comeback into the team following Naseem Shah’s injury, also hit his stride under the supervision of bowling coach Morne Morkel. The pace trio was in good spirits and was seen joking with the net bowlers provided by the local Hyderabad Cricket Association.
Notwithstanding the diplomatic tensions, the cricketers from both India and Pakistan get along really well and that was evident when Rauf was curious to know about the cricketing structure in India. And he knew that India pacer Mohammad Siraj, who mauled Sri Lanka in the final of the recently held Asia Cup, was also from Hyderabad. The team spent close to 2.5 hours at the ground.
(With PTI inputs)