Shoaib Akhtar remembers speaking to Lata Mangeshkar over the phone: “She asked me to call her. I regret never meeting her.”

Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has joined the list of celebrities who have paid tribute to legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar. In a video posted by Shoaib on his official YouTube account, the cricketer recalls his conversation with the late singer during his visit to India in 2016.

Speaking Urdu, the former Pakistani speed bowler expressed his grief over Lata’s death and said, “In 2016, when I was working in India, I had the honor of speaking to her over the phone. I greeted her and responded with her tender voice.” The cricketer said when addressing her by the name of Lata Ji, The singer insisted on calling her (mother). “I addressed her that I was Magi from there,” Shoaib said in the video.

Apart from her singing prowess, Lata was a huge fan of cricket and loved to follow the matches of the Indian cricket team. She even gave a fundraising concert for the team after they won the 1983 World Cup. Shoaib went on to remember how the legendary singer opened up about this love of cricket in their conversation. He said, “She told me that she watched my matches and my fights with Sachin (Tendulkar). She told me that she found me aggressive on the field. She said my temper is famous.”

Shoaib said that after discussing cricket, Urdu and Pakistani musicians like Ghulam Ali and Noor Jahan, the two planned to meet. Shuaib said: I told her I wanted to meet her. I don’t want to miss this opportunity. She told me she was fasting for Navaratri (Hindu festival) and then asked me to come to her house as soon as her fast was over. However, this meeting did not come to be. “I really thought I would meet her. She gave me her blessing. But then it was time to say goodbye. Unfortunately, we never spoke again. After that, relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated and I could never go back. I met her and that’s something I regret.”

One of the biggest icons of Indian cinema, Lata has had an eight-decade career singing thousands of songs in several languages. For her contribution to cinema and the arts, she has received numerous awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor.

Read also: Lata Mangeshkar’s nephew, Adinath Mangeshkar, brings her ashes home

The veteran singer died of multiple organ failure on Sunday morning after a brief battle with COVID-19 and pneumonia. She was 92 years old. Lata’s body was cremated at Shivaji Park in Mumbai with full honors. Her funeral was attended by many Bollywood celebrities as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Udav Thackeray as well as other dignitaries.

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