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Die-hard cricket fans buckle up for ICC T20 World Cup

34-year-old Mohali cricket fan, Ram Babu, has been conversing with Pakistani cricket fan Mohammad Bashir, popularly known as Chacha Chicago, for his preparations for the ICC men’s T20 World Cup in UAE.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 22, 2021 12:48:10 pm
Cricket fan Nitin JainNitin Jain with sketches of India's 2007 T20 World Cup win. (Photo: Jasbir Malhi)

For the last one month, 34-year-old Mohali cricket fan, Ram Babu, has been conversing with Pakistani cricket fan Mohammad Bashir, popularly known as Chacha Chicago, for his preparations for the ICC men’s T20 World Cup in UAE. Babu, a familiar face among Indian cricket fans at stadiums who has been cheering for the Indian team for the past 13 years, could only confirm about his plan after getting a sponsor. He will be in attendance at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, when the much awaited clash between arch rivals India and Pakistan takes place on Sunday later this week.

“Any India-Pakistan match is a memory to cherish for fans and I am glad that I am going to watch the match. I talked with Chacha Chicago last week and like always, the conversation was about India winning against Pakistan in world cups till now. And I hope it remains the same this time too. Fans like Chaudhary Abdul Jalil, popularly known as Chacha Cricket from Pakistan are coming to UAE to watch the much awaited clash as well and I am glad that I will be cheering and waving the Indian flag there,” said Babu, who does a part-time job as driver in Mohali to support his passion of cheering for India.

Cricket fan Ram babu Cricket fan Ram babu during an India match. (FILE)

Like Babu, Ambala resident and a frequent visitor of IS Bindra International Stadium Mohali, 36-year-old Nitin Jain will also be going to UAE to watch the final of the World Cup to be held in November at the Dubai International stadium. Jain, an ardent fan of Sachin Tendulkar, had made sketches of India’s 2011 World Cup win apart from making sketches of Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and many more. Jain has made two new sketches to take along to UAE and will also be getting some India 2007 T20 World Cup edition kits to get signed by MS Dhoni, who will be mentoring the Indian team in the T20 World Cup.

“For the last 20 months, fans have missed going or watching international cricket matches in stadium except the India-England Test series earlier this year. I will be going to watch the final of the T20 World Cup in Dubai and I have made sketches of India’s historic win in the the inaugural edition of the ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa along with sketches of Captain Virat Kohli and mentor MS Dhoni with this edition’s winning trophy. I wish to see the Indian team win the T20 World Cup and cheering for them will be a special moment for me and all the fans,” said Jain.

Since players will remain in bio-bubble, fans can’t meet or greet players at team hotels. Ram Babu will be cheering the Indian team outside the team hotel. The Mohali resident, who had earlier attended matches in 2012 T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka apart from 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh and 2018 Asia Cup in Dubai, also finds this as a new normal. “Fans understand the need for bio-bubbles and we feel lucky that we will be there to cheer for India. Many Indian live in UAE and they support us like family. A lot of them also call us for dinner and give us a ride to the stadium,” said Babu.

For Jain, missing the action from stadium in Covid-19 times was like not getting chance to see their gods. “It was like a devotee not being able to see the god they worship. We are glad that we will be seeing the Indian team live at the stadium,” says Jain.

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