Former India opener and domestic cricket stalwart Wasim Jaffer represented India in 31 Tests and shared dressing rooms with the likes of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
Wasim has dispelled the notion that there are tensions between players of the neighbouring countries and in-fact said that usually, players from both sides get along nicely.
"People have a perception that we have tensions but generally, we (Pakistani and Indian players) are all good friends," Wasim told Cricingif.
Wasim has particularly good camaraderie with former Pakistan bowling all-rounder Yasir Arafat, who represented Pakistan in 11 ODIs and three Tests, and he has been a highly sought player in county cricket where Wasim got to know him.
"Yasir Arafat is one of my dear friends because he lives in England so I meet him regularly and due to Lashings, I got this incredible opportunity to meet with all these fantastic players. It used to feel so great to meet up and eat together, play competitive cricket and we enjoyed a lot," Wasim added.
Wasim has represented the county 'Lashings' for almost a decade which provided him with an opportunity to rub shoulders with many Pakistan greats including Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq.
"I played for like 8-9 years for lashings in England and I consider myself very lucky to play alongside such huge names of cricket. I got an opportunity to play with players like Inzamam, Saqlain, Yousaf from Pakistan. I played a bit with Mushi bhai (Mushtaq Ahmed) too.
"Shoaib Akhtar has also played for some time (in county cricket). From other countries, Aravinda DeSilva, Mark Ramprakash, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Richie Richardson, Ian Harvey from Australia nad so playing with these great players and sharing dressing rooms with them, talking with them, sharing stories was an unbelievable experience," Wasim added.
Wasim's penchant for scoring big knocks helped Mumbai win Ranji Trophy eight times before he moved to Vidarbha and helped them win the premier domestic competition twice
The domestic cricket giant from India vividly remembers the gripping contests between Pakistan and India in Sharjah. He used to keenly follow those exhilarating matches and was a fan of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Abdul Qadir.
"I think players from Pakistan as far as I recall when I was little, there were many India-Pakistan matches in Sharjah and I used to follow them with great interest. The obvious choices would be Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Abdul Qadir—many people used to copy Abdul Qadir' action. Imran was such a fantastic leader. I have heard some great stories from many people."
Javed Miandad has been a match-winner for Pakistan and he used to get the team out of dicey situations on numerous occasions. Wasim talked about how Javed's stay on the crease would mean the match would go right down to the wire.
"Javed Miandad, again, what a player he was. When we used to watch matches in Sharjah so Indian players and the public wanted Javed to get out early because if he stayed around they knew the match is going to go till the very end so he was one of the finest players."
Babar Azam is tipped to stay a top-ranked batsman in the years to come and many keen observers of the game have harbingered a bright future for the batsman who hails from a country where classy batsman are a rare species and mostly Pakistan is ascribed with fine bowling talent.
"In the current line-up, Babar Azam is the next big thing in world cricket along with those top four players: Virat, Smith, Williamson and Joe Root. I think (Babar) is number five in my list. I like Asad Shafiq quite a lot—he is a very fine player but he has not performed to the level that he should have done," Wasim opined.