Two wicket-keepers, one, a former Indian captain and the other, the present skipper of the Pakistani team, will be in opposite camps on Sunday, when they play for the Champions Trophy at the Oval. However, off the field, Dhoni and Sarfraz Ahmad are not rivals.
On arriving from Birmingham, after beating Bangladesh, Dhoni met Sarfraz and his wife Khushbakht, with their four-month old son, Abdullah, at Hotel Grange City (London). In fact, the captain shared a photograph of their son in Dhoni’s (safe) hands through his India-based maternal uncle!
“It’s only on the field that rivalry between India and Pakistan arises! Families of players don’t mind interacting with each other,” says the uncle, Mehboob Hassan, speaking exclusively from Etawah, (Western UP), where he works as a senior clerk at the Agricultural Engineering College.
“Sarfraz and Khushbakht were married in May 2015 and my entire family went to Pakistan. We stayed there for a few days. Abdulah is their first child.”
Back home in Pakistan, Sarfraz’s mother, Akeela Bano, was delighted to see the photograph of former Indian captain holding her grandson.
“It was a very fine gesture by Dhoni. I showed this photo to all my children and relatives here. My daughter, who visited us yesterday, was pleasantly surprised to see Abdullah in his hands,” exclaims Sarfraz’s mother, speaking exclusively from Karachi.
“Obviously, I have to support the country for which my son plays and Inshallah, Pakistan will win tomorrow,” she prays!
“Sadly, Sarfraz’s dad is no more to witness the progress of our son. He died some years ago. Of course, he had watched our son playing the Under-19 World Cup,” she says, adding, even as she hears that the Indian captain, Virat Kohli, too had lost his dad early in life — “It is only Allah’s wish that happens. We can’t do anything. Best luck to him also.”