The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mixed menu on match eve

A dash of ash is what goes to his head, but his heart is set on Madhuri and Kajol.

Teen heart-throb Shahid Afridi was busy colouring his hair at a one-day-old Wood Street salon the morning before the One-Day International against traditional rivals India ' and also naming his favourites among Bollywood femme fatales.

The big-hitting leggie led a packed schedule for Team Pakistan, in the run-up to Saturday's tie, that ranged from lunches to dinners, prayers to practice, mane to music.

With Shoaib Akhtar keeping a low profile, Afridi hogged the spotlight ' from digging into the lunch buffet with all-rounder Abdul Razzaq at The Grain of Salt on Thursday to his second visit to Eye Catchers in 24 hours.

'He wanted blonde, but we gave him a mix of ash and blonde, since ash is a new colour,' said Reshma Sambtani, senior hair stylist of the salon. 'He had never coloured his hair before and was very excited about it.'

New look in place, Afridi headed for Nakhoda Masjid with skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq and other teammates. Cornered by cameras, the cricket contingent did manage to shut out the clamour, offer prayers and then headed off to get into battle gear.

If hair colour was on the agenda, watching a 44-year-old Indian classic, now back in colour, was not. Team Pakistan sold a dummy to organisers and fans on Thursday evening by not turning up for the Mughal-e-Azam premiere at 89 Cinemas.

Yesterday's hero Zaheer Abbas and veteran diplomat Shahryar Khan couldn't quite slip into the big boots of Shoaib and Inzy, and even they didn't get to watch the remixed K. Asif magnum opus due to the delay in screening.

So where exactly was the Pakistan squad on Thursday night' Well, it was Starstruck, with a gang of nine landing up at the multi-cuisine restaurant in Forum. Yousuf Youhana, Mohammed Sami, Imran Farhat and the rest gorged on the Congee Crispy Lamb and Sliced Fish in Hot Garlic Sauce.

There was a touch of nostalgia too as the same players had visited Starstruck on their last trip to India, then as members of the Pakistan A team. 'We invited them to Winning Streak in HHI and they promised to party at the sports bar on Saturday, if they win,' said Bunty Sethi, owner of both Starstruck and Winning Streak.

And the evening before facing the music of Sachin-Sehwag or Zaheer-Irfan, a special musical event had been arranged for Inzamam and his gang in green, at Taj Bengal where they are all staying. Percussionist Bikram Ghosh and popular playback singer Babul Supriyo took the stage to set a harmony tune to the camaraderie tour.

Bikram, who showcased his Drumscape act for the evening, used the occasion to spread a mixed message of celebration and competition. 'Those are the key elements for the match too,' said the tabla player hours before the performance.

And the likeliest post-match unwind address ' 20G, Park Street, where the top-floor Prince of Cal lounge of Sourav's looks set to host both the teams late on Saturday.

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