Abid Ali speaks to media at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Sunday. Arif Ali / AFP
Pakistan's newly selected opener Abid Ali on Sunday expressed confidence that despite strained political relations India's legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar will give him a hug and a few batting tips at next month's World Cup.
The 31-year-old has been a prolific run scorer in Pakistan's domestic cricket and broke into the national one-day squad for the World Cup after smashing a century on his debut against Australia in Dubai last month.
Abid is almost the same height as Tendulkar and bats in a similar style, but has a long way to match the Indian maestro's phenomenal record of most Test runs (15,921), most one-day runs (18,426), most Test hundreds (51) and most one-day centuries (49) to name a few.
"It's my wish and hope that I meet Sachin Tendulkar," Abid told a group of journalists.
"Definitely, I would like to hug him and I am sure that just like all great players meet youngsters I am sure that he will not turn me down.
"I am sure that if I want to get any information on cricket from Sachin, he will give a positive reply."
Abid said it will be a memorable day when he meets his idol.
"It will be the best day in my life when I meet him (Tendulkar) because he was one of the best batsmen.
"West Indian Viv Richards was also a great so I want to meet all the great players and learn from them," said Abid.
There were calls that India should not play the 2019 World Cup match with Pakistan scheduled for Manchester on June 16.
Despite the bitterness, players from both sides enjoy cordial relations.
Indian captain Virat Kohli presented his bat to Pakistan's fast bowler Mohammad Amir during the World Twenty20 in India three years ago as a sign of appreciation of his talent.
Abid said he had followed Tendulkar's batting style from his early days.
"Actually I have followed Sachin's technique from day one of my career and after watching him I tried to play like him. He was a great player, just like our own Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf.
"I adopt their good things and leave any bad thing. If I meet him I will try to talk to him and get some advice, mentally and technically, so that it helps me improve my batting."
Abid said he will do his best to be known as a good batsman.
"Tendulkar's record is awesome," said Abid of the Indian master who retired in 2013.
"I will do my best as and when I get a chance to play for Pakistan and make a name for myself."
Senior Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik believes no team is favourite to win the upcoming World Cup slated to be held in England and Wales from May 30.
Sarfraz said he would prefer his side to go into the tournament under the radar. "Look, when we go as favourites, then it's a problem, but if we go as underdogs then other teams feel the danger, so I think being underdogs is good for us and eases the pressure," Sarfraz told a press conference in Lahore before they depart for England and Wales on Tuesday.
In a new autobiography, the fiery all-rounder says he was aged 19 when he blasted onto the world stage with his record-breaking innings, and not 16 as history suggests.
Afghanistan's World Cup campaign was plunged further into crisis on Wednesday as coach Phil Simmons promised to lift the lid on simmering tensions with chief selector Dawlat Ahmadzai.
India opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the 2019 edition of the World Cup as he is not in a position to recover in time for the remaining games of the showpiece event.
The banned ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini was released from custody on Wednesday after hours of questioning in connection with a criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Blue Point joined a select group of sprinters to win the G1 King’s Stand Stakes twice with another scintillating display in the five-furlong highlight on day one of Royal Ascot on Tuesday. The five-year-old Shamardal horse showed his customary early speed from stall one and disputed second towards the far side