Colombo: Bangladesh faced off with Sri Lanka Board President’s XI as a preparation for the 2018 Nidahas Trophy here recently. Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das were the stars for them in that match, helping them beat the hosts by five wickets.
During the match, there were a couple of notable people present. One of the them was Shoaib Ali, a Bangladesh fan who completely paints his body signifying a tiger, and by holding a Bangladeshi flag.
The other fan is Mohammad Bashir aka ‘Chacha Chicago’- an ardent cricket lover from Pakistan who lives in Chicago, but supports the Indian cricket team.
Shoaib’s career as a cricket fan dates back to March 16, 2012, when Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th international ton during an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh. However, that effort went in vain as India lost the match by five wickets.
Shoaib recalled about that memorable match.
“That match changed my entire life. I saw how Sudhir and Chacha supported India and I felt I must also support my team the same way. When Bangladesh performed brilliantly in the Asia Cup, I decided to be like them,” he said to Hindustan Times.
“We were on the verge of winning. Looking at the way how we lost, I cried inconsolably,” he added.
In 2016, an image of Bangladesh bowler Taskin Ahmed carrying MS Dhoni’s head had taken the internet by storm.
Shoaib said that diehard fans of cricket will never do such things.
“The fans who truly love cricket will never do such a thing. These things are an attempt to create a wedge between fans.”
Bashir, on the other hand, was one of the spectators to have witnessed the historic 2011 World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan in Mohali.
“When I arrived for the semi-final in Mohali, I was told that there were no tickets available. I took out a placard and wrote, “I want to see the match”. On the second day, a man came with an envelope which contained tickets. He said, ‘This has come from Dhoni sahab’. I did not know MS Dhoni at that time. When I saw the tickets, I was overjoyed. Trust me, I love MS Dhoni more than my wife,” he said.
“Many people asked me, ‘Why do you support India?’ I only reply by saying you will get so much love in India. All the old people have filled the minds of the youth with poison that India is our enemy. It is nothing like that,” he added.
After losing their first match to Sri Lanka by five wickets in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy, Rohit Sharma’s men will look to turn things around in their upcoming match against Bangladesh when the two teams faces off here on Thursday....