AUCKLAND – Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi was saved from embarrassment when a fan stepped in to pay for his meal at a fast food outlet in Auckland.
The Pakistan team is in New Zealand for a series starting January 15. Afridi and ‘selfie master’ Ahmed Shahzad had gone to buy meals at a McDonald’s restaurant inside the Auckland airport.
The players, however, were carrying US dollars instead of local currency with them. And after the restaurant did not accept the money offered by them, a fan – Waqas Naveed – paid Afridi’s bill.
The issue made headline in Pakistan, Afridi was contacted and he informed journalists that he and Shahzad had forgotten to change their US dollars into New Zealand currency before going to the restaurant. “There was this young man behind us in the line and he offered to pay for us insisting it was his way of welcoming us to New Zealand,” Afridi said.
But the all-rounder said he was disappointed that the entire episode was recorded by someone in the restaurant and the media had been playing it. “Had US dollars which they weren’t taking at airport, but glad once again our media entertaining all of you,” he tweeted.
The fan – Waqas – said he paid the bill to welcome the players as he was a big fan of the Pakistan team. But for Afridi, the minor incident became another gaffe as just before leaving for New Zealand, he was embroiled in a spat with the media during the training camp in Lahore.
Afridi had given a dismissive reply to a reporter and this snowballed into a controversy with the media protesting at the Gaddafi stadium and demanding an apology.
Later, Afridi didn’t help matters by attending a function in Karachi on the eve of his team’s departure and saying tongue in cheek that the Karachi media loved him.
The 35-year-old has a record of being frank in his views, something which has led to him being sanctioned in the past.
Pakistan are scheduled to play three T20s and as many ODIs against the Kiwis, with the tour set to kick off on January 15.