Travelling the world to observe the arch-rivals in motion would not make sense anymore to Bashir, aka ‘Chacha Chicago’, who endured abuses from Pakistani followers whereas cheering for Dhoni. The well-known chacha, as an alternative, plans to go to Ranchi to satisfy the person whose sphere of affect spreads far and huge.

“Dhoni has retired and so have I. I don’t see myself travelling for cricket again with him not being around. I loved him and he loved me back,” Bashir informed PTI from Chicago, the place he runs a restaurant.

“All great players have to call time one day but his retiring makes me sad and brings back a lot of precious memories. He deserved a grand send-off but again he is beyond that,” he added.

The unstated bond between Bashir and Dhoni blossomed after the 2011 World Cup semifinal between the 2 international locations. A ticket for the arguably the largest sport of the event in Mohali was a valuable commodity however Dhoni organized it for the 65-year-old, sufficient for him to “unconditionally love” the World Cup-winning captain for all times.

For somebody who survived three coronary heart assaults and criss-crossed the globe to see Dhoni in flesh and blood, cricket won’t ever be the identical. Now that he’s achieved attending stay video games, his subsequent cease is Ranchi.

“I’ll go to his home in Ranchi when issues get regular (submit COVID-19 pandemic). That is the least I can do to want him all the very best for the longer term. I can even ask Ram Babu (one other tremendous fan, from Mohali, to come back with me).

“I might have travelled to see him within the IPL however there are journey circumstances and with my coronary heart situation, it isn’t secure to take action,” mentioned Bashir, whose spouse hails from Hyderabad (India), a spot he visited in January this 12 months.

He says what makes his relationship particular with the Dhoni is that they by no means interacted a lot throughout tournaments, most just lately the 2019 World Cup in England, however the Indian legend was at all times there to assist him earlier than he might ask.

“On some events, I did get a while with him, however in 2019, we couldn’t work together a lot. But like at all times, he organized a ticket for me. And in the course of the Asia Cup in 2018, he took me to his room and gave me his jersey. That was actually particular similar to the 2 occasions when he gave me his bat.

“When he did not have the time reach me, he sent a member of the support staff with the tickets. He did not have to do that but he did,” mentioned an emotional Bashir. But which is his most cherished reminiscence as a lifelong Dhoni fan?

“This particular incident during the 2015 World Cup I can never forget. I was there for a game in Sydney and was sitting in the sun, it was extremely hot. Suresh Raina came from nowhere and gave me sunglasses. He said ‘it is from Dhoni bhai not me’. I smiled back at him.”

Such was his loyalty to Dhoni that Bashir would overtly cheer for India and for that, he, at occasions, needed to endure abuses from Pakistani followers.

“This one time in Birmingham, the Pakistani fans hurled choicest of abuses at me and even called me a ‘Gaddar’ (traitor). I had to ignore all of it. I love both countries and humanity comes first anyway,” he signed off.

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