Dubai: Amaan Haider, a Dubai-based Indian poet, has a set of admirers from unexpected quarters — leading Afghanistan cricketers like Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rehman.
Nabi and Mujeeb often tweet their appreciation for Haider’s poems, in Urdu and Hindi, and they even listen to his poetry-reading sessions on YouTube from different part of the world.
The sessions — held in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK and in India — have been inspirational for the cricketers and he shares his new works with them whenever they meet
The relationship has gone to such a level that these cricketers have invited him to visit Afghanistan many times.
Haider has also been invited to attend the India-Afghanistan World Cup match on June 22 in England.
“I met Nabi through a common friend nearly four years ago and he introduced me to the rest of the Afghanistan team. This led to me visiting Kabul many times,” said Haider, who was born in Rrishikesh, on the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River.
“A friend taught me Pashto [the language spoken by Pashtuns in Afghanistan], and this helped me get closer to rest of the Afghanistan team. I greet the cricketers saying Sange Jodee [How are you all?]. As much as I am a proud Indian, they are all proud [Afghans]. I have written few poems on the India-Afghanistan friendship too.”
Haider was also a guest at the Afghanistan Premier League matches held at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in October 2018.
“It was Afghanistan consul-general Abdul Samad Afghan, who introduced me to Afghanistan Cricket Board president Aziz Ullah Fazli. I wore the traditional Afghan attire and watched the matches with with the Afghanistan consul-general,” said Haider, who is known in his circles as Haider Aamaan Haider.