Lahore, July 15 The upcoming Pakistan men's Test and T20I series against England will be played under stringent Covid-19 protocols. As such, the fans, an integral part of the sport, will not be able to witness their stars in action from the stands.
In a bit to lessen the distance between players and fans, the Pakistan Cricket Board organised a video-conference call between champion batsman Babar Azam, who is in England with the Pakistan men's national cricket team, and his eight-year-old fan in Lahore, Samiya Afsar.
Samiya rose to prominence earlier this year when a video of her batting practice went viral on the social media in which she was seen playing conventional cricket shots while meeting the ball on merit.
Such was the impression of her strokes that batting legend Kumar Sangakkara appreciated them and tweeted: "Can't get over how good this little player is. Much better technique than mine already. So encouraging to see such talent in cricket."
During his interaction with the young fan, Babar, the Pakistan men's limited-overs captain, praised his young fan's stroke play and shared tips on how to become a better batter.
Samiya's skills are not only limited to cricket. Before meeting Babar online, she made a sketch of the batting superstar which she plans to gift him when the team returns.
Sharing her delight on e-meeting Babar, Samiya said: "I am Babar Azam's biggest fan and I want to be like him. Like a superhero he looks after our country and takes our team out of troubles. One day, I will also do for our women's team what he does for the men's.
"Babar bhai gave me some invaluable batting tips which I will practice whenever I can get back to nets."
Babar Azam said: "Fans are the most integral part of the game and they keep us motivated through thick and thin. It gives us extra motivation to produce match winning performances when we know that such beautiful people are behind us and praying for our success.
"It was a great delight to meet Samiya. She is a superstar. I was in awe when I first saw her batting video. The way she was timing the ball was remarkable. She has all the potential to be a great batter and I look forward to catching up with her when the Covid-19 situation improves.
"Being involved in sports from a young age helps in understanding life and disciplining yourself. At this stage, I want to ask all of my young fans to make sure they do some form of physical training while concentrating on their studies."
( With inputs from IANS )