West Indies cricketer Darren Sammy is all set to become an honorary citizen of Pakistan next month.
“President of Pakistan Arif Alvi will confer the highest civilian award and honorary citizenship to Darren Sammy on March 23 for his invaluable contribution to cricket in Pakistan,” read a Twitter post by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday.
Sammy will be the first cricketer to receive the honour. The push to award an honorary citizenship to Sammy was led by Peshawar Zalmi franchise owner Javed Afridi.
“Sammy was the first player to say yes to visit Pakistan. He is the most loved and cheered foreign cricketer in Pakistan,” Afridi said.
Afridi had earlier requested PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani to request the president to consider an honorary citizenship for Sammy.
Afridi said after the announcement that Sammy’s love for Pakistan was unconditional and the step will encourage other players.
“When Sammy was supporting Pakistan cricket, he didn’t do this for obtaining citizenship. This is our recognition for his services,” he had said. “This will encourage everyone who’s here to support Pakistan cricket.”
The Windies player said whatever he did for Pakistan was for the love of the people of this country, not for any personal gains.
“My love for Pakistan is natural, my contribution to this country is pure. I don’t need a passport to show my love for this country. All the players who have supported this step have contributed to where we are today. It is good that it has been recognized, but I didn’t do it for myself it is for my affection with the people and for the love I get from here,” Sammy said.
Another Windies great, batting legend Sir Vivian Richards, is similarly loved for his support for cricket in Pakistan. Richards is a mentor and batting coach for Quetta Gladiators.—Agencies