Mahender Singh Dhoni, who is probably playing his last World Cup for India, is also possibly doing another service for the last time at the ongoing edition of cricket’s showpiece tournament. Mohammad Bashir, who is also known as ‘Chacha Chicago’, has turned up in England in readiness for the India vs Pakistan clash in Manchester on Sunday, with complete trust that the former India captain will ensure that he gets tickets for the epic clash.
“I arrived here yesterday and saw that people are ready to pay as much as 800-900 pounds for a ticket. A return ticket from Chicago costs the same. Thanks to Dhoni, I don’t have to struggle for a match ticket,” the 63-year-old, who owns a restaurant in Chicago and is an American passport holder, told PTI.
Dhoni and Chacha Chicago have shared a unique bond since the 2011 World Cup, when Dhoni went out of his way to arrange a ticket for him for the India-Pakistan clash in Mohali, a showdown for which most fans would pay an arm and a leg to watch in person.
“Imagine I get the ticket for free when most would pay a fortune for it. I have got a surprise gift for him this time and I hope to give it to him later today,” said Bashir.
“I don’t call him as he is so busy. I keep in touch only through text messages. Long before I came here, Dhoni assured me of the ticket. He is a great human being. I can’t think of anyone else doing what he has done for me since that 2011 game in Mohali,” Bashir added.
The 63-year-old Chacha Chicago has an Indian connection apart from his bond with Dhoni too. His wife is from Hyderabad and his family often visit the country. When he is not travelling, Bashir and his family run an eatery in Chicago.
Bashir had told Indian Express in 2016, “India’s love for me brings me to watch cricket here. Students offer me lunch, tea shops do not take money from us and people wait with me for the team buses just to start a conversation with me. Our skipper Shahid Afridi only said the truth that they get more love here in India as compared to Pakistan. Those who got angry by this will keep crying like this all their life.”