Adelaide: The transformed scenarios in India and Pakistan’s cricket can be gauged by the corresponding changes in their premier fans — Sudhir Gautam Chaudhry and Pakistan’s senior citizen fan Chacha Cricket (Abdul Jalil Chaudhry). Their similar surnames are only the tip of this iceberg of coincidences.
Left: India fan Sudhir Gautam Chaudhry with his new ‘Miss U Tendulkar’ body paint at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday; Right: Pakistan’s new Cricket Chacha, Mohammad Basheer, who hails from Chicago, at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Pics/Ashwin Ferro
While the body-painted Gautam has changed his colourful tattoo from ‘Tendulkar’ to ‘Miss U Tendulkar,’ reflecting the absence of the Master Blaster in this edition of the World Cup, Chacha Cricket has given the tournament the slip due to his inability to stretch his finances for the trip Down Under.
That’s exactly the disposition in the Indian and Pakistani teams here in Adelaide on the eve of today’s thrilling World Cup encounter.
While Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co are set to miss the precious experience of Tendulkar through retirement, Misbah-ul-Haq & Co realise that their inexperienced outfit will have to stretch every sinew to beat the world champions. The coincidence continues.
Tendulkar played a huge hand in Gautam getting a visa to travel here by writing to the Australian Embassy. Team India will also look to similarly benefit from the batting icon’s inputs in the run-up to the World Cup.
Chacha Cricket, who was in India for the 2011 World Cup, meanwhile, has been replaced by Mohammad Basheer, who hails from Chicago and also dresses like Chacha. And similarly, besides Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s pacers of the 2011 Mohali semi-final against India (Umar Gul, Abdul Razzaq) have been replaced by the likes of Sohail Khan and Mohammad Irfan.
It’s this changed cricketing scenario that saw both Dhoni and his counterpart Misbah wary of making tall claims regarding the outcome of today’s encounter at Saturday’s pre-match press conference.
Sudhir and the new Chacha Cricket meanwhile have no doubt in their mind who will win today.
“India ki hogi jeet, 2011 World Cup win will repeat,” yelled Sudhir vigorously waving the tri-colour as is his signature.
Chacha, whose wife hails from Hyderabad, was equally vocal. “Jis desh main Ganga behti hai, uss desh mein meri biwi rehti hai, lekin woh aaj yaha nahi hai, isiliye Pakistan ki jeet hi sahi hai (my wife hails from the country where the Ganges flows but she is not here, so Pakistan will win),” said Chacha surrounded by a crowd of Indian and Pakistani fans creating a mini riot at the entrance of the Oval on Saturday.