Alisha, a 15-year-old fan of Babar Azam, carries a photo of the Pakistan skipper in the back cover of her phone. The schoolgirl from Bhopal was among the scattered group of Pakistan supporters at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium as Babar and Co took the field for their World Cup opener against Netherlands. One of the world’s leading batter, Babar has a wide following in cricket loving India and that was pretty evident when he landed on Indian soil for the first time last week.
Sitting alongside her mother, Alisha was seen waving the Pakistan flag cheering every run scored by them. Mohammad Bashir, the Chicago-based “Chacha”, finally had some competition in the stands.
Pakistan fans have not made the journey across the border yet due to visa issues, therefore, local support is more than welcome.
Much to her disappointment, Babar’s stay in the middle lasted only 18 balls as he was caught at mid-wicket. She likes all things Babar, including his trademark cover drive.
“I have been a fan of Babar for the past four years. I started a fanpage as well on social media but deactivated as I had to focus on my studies,” Alisha told PTI.
“The love for the game is in the family as my parents are also followers of Pakistan cricket. My mum loves Shahidi Afridi and Dad used to be a big fan of Javed Miandad.” Alisha was apprehensive of how the fellow Indians in the stands would react to her holding the Pakistan flag. However, the game was played in front of a sporting crowd with many among the 9000-odd spectators also cheering for the Netherlands squad.
“It is good to see that people are supporting both the teams. I am an Indian first and love the likes of Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli but I also have the same love for Babar.
“I hope the relations between the countries get better one day,” added the class 8 student, who aspires to become an entrepreneur.
Alisha doesn’t have the ticket for the Indo-Pak blockbuster in Ahmedabad. She plans to stay back for Pakistan’s final game here on October 10 before heading back home to chase her dreams.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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