New Delhi: Everyone has seen him at all India-Pakistan matches. He has a Pakistan flag in hand as well as an Indian flag. Photos of him with Sudhir Gautam, Sachin Tendulkar’s biggest fan, have gone viral. Yet, this year, Mohammad Bashir, popularly known as ‘Chacha Chicago’, will miss his first India-Pakistan game in six years.
But, more than that, he is upset that Pakistan is no match to India, who have gone ahead in terms of cricket than their neighbours. “Ab koi muqabla nahi raha India Pakistan ka (India-Pakistan match is not the contest it used to be). India bahut aage nikal gaya hain (India are miles ahead of Pakistan),” Bashir told.
“Ek side par Dhoni, Kohli, Yuvraj aur Pakistan mein toh koi bada player hee nahi hain (there is no star player in Pakistan compared to the Indian line-up). “What an era it was when the likes of Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis would play. Now I don’t even know the names of most players. India should have it easy,” he said.
According to Bashir, he has attended all India-Pakistan matches since the first one he attended in Mohali, the 2011 World Cup semi-final. That is why he regrets missing the one on June 4. “I have not missed a single India-Pakistan contest since attending my first one in Mohali during the 2011 World Cup. I would have loved to be there in Birmingham as well but since the game is during the month of Ramadan, the trip to Mecca with my family was already planned and I will be there for a month.
“In fact, Sudhir called me only yesterday to check whether I was coming. Sadly I won’t be there but India should comfortably beat Pakistan and then go on to win the tournament,” he said.
India and Pakistan begin their Champions Trophy campaign when they face each other on June 4 in Birmingham. Bashir says that he still loves Pakistan but now, he loves India more.
“I still love Pakistan but I love India more now. Earlier I wanted Pakistan to win but now it is India. The love that I received during my first trip to Mohali in 2011 was overwhelming.
“I have come to a stage where I end up going to India almost every year and hardly go to Pakistan. I feel much safer in India,” says Bashir. Currently in Saudi Arabia, Bashir’s major concern is finding a television channel on which he could watch cricket.
“It is all about football here. I think I will watch it on the internet. I even wanted to watch India’s warm-up against New Zealand but could not.”