World Cup 2019: Bigg buzz at Old Trafford gates to witness Ind vs Pak

Updated: Jun 17, 2019, 07:57 IST | Harit N Joshi

There wasn't anyone here who did not want to see India and Pakistan live up to their World Cup commitments and there were almost as many outside the stadium, hoping they could be as lucky as those already inside

World Cup 2019: Bigg buzz at Old Trafford gates to witness Ind vs Pak
Bollywood actor Boman Irani

Manchester: There was no shortage of famous Mumbai names who made their way to Old Trafford here yesterday to soak in the atmosphere of the high-voltage India-Pakistan World Cup clash.

While Bollywood star Ranveer Singh drove down from Sweden to make it for the match, fellow actor Boman Irani flew down from India for this match after witnessing India's opening clash against South Africa at Southampton on June 5.

Irani, a big cricket enthusiast, arrived with Lancashire-based former India stumper Farokh Engineer. He was hounded by selfie-seekers as Engineer patiently waited at the entrance. The India v Pakistan match was played in the backdrop of high political tensions between the two nations and Irani batted for the spirit of cricket.

"There's a great atmosphere here. The fans should support their team with all the lung power, but in the right spirit — that is important. I am here for a good game of cricket," Irani told mid-day yesterday.

Engineer too wanted Indian and Pakistani fans to be at their best behaviour. "It is a beautiful rivalry on the field and let the battles remain between the players. The fans should respect sentiments of each other. After all, it's just a game," remarked India's 1975 World Cup stumper.

Frenzy outside stadium

If you were at Old Trafford yesterday to witness the India-Pakistan clash, you would have laughed if someone were to tell you that a few months ago, the fans in India wholeheartedly supported plans of boycotting this World Cup fixture.

Some Indian fans wanted this fixture to be struck off after the dastardly terror attack on CRPF soldiers in Pulwama.

There wasn't anyone here who did not want to see India and Pakistan live up to their World Cup commitments and there were almost as many outside the stadium, hoping they could be as lucky as those already inside.

The crowd screamed through their lungs to produce an electrifying atmosphere. Pakistani fans and a few Indian fans passed the ground on an open bus with blaring music.

Innovation was the name of the game. A group of Indian fans were dressed in traditional Gujarati attire, while a Pakistani fan chose to reach the ground on a horse.

Meanwhile, the two most recognised fans — India's Sudhir Gautam and Pakistan's Bashir chacha — were around to do their bit to spread the message of peace.

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