Interview of Cricket Fans – 95 – Pakistan

Jay – What are your early memories associated with this sport and how did you fall in love with cricket?

Well, you would not believe I remember watching it on black and white TVs. Gradually as I grew I started understanding a bit. My confusion for a while had been about the number of wickets falling. So the craze grew more and when I was old enough to go to the stadium with friends, then I really got hooked on simply because of the atmosphere at the stadium. Then on the flip side, there was one test match with India where we lost 5 wickets on the first morning and due to crowd trouble match got abandoned and police started throwing tear gas to evict everyone and I was running out on the streets, oh those memories.

Jay – Talking about that meme, that reaction just sums up what it’s like as a Pakistan fan, doesn’t it?

Haha, so true. It’s typically euphoria one moment and surprise and disappointment at another. We were behind in the game at that moment and we needed to grab any chance that came our way. So it was just plain utter disappointment on my face when that catch was dropped. In fact, if you ask my wife, my parents, my siblings, they would tell you that I have carried my disappointed and angry expression from home and made it famous worldwide.

Jay – How did you realise you became an internet sensation?

Well, as soon as I sat down I started getting calls from family and friends who had seen me on the live telecast. Then a few memes were shared with me and I thought ‘wow’ that’s strange. Then in about 40-50 minutes, I saw a camera crew approaching.

That was huge, a jaw-dropping moment and then I saw Zainab Abbas approaching and she said you know you have become a viral sensation. By then, everyone around me had started receiving my memes and I was hearing them talk that this is the guy sitting there. It was fun hearing all that talk and a few approached for selfies.

Jay – People gave you lot of love and respect once it went viral, you were interviewed by Zainab Abbas, your photo was also printed on many t-shirts of fans, you even did an advertisement after that, how special is all of this for you personally?

I remember one guy came over and kissed on my bald head while getting a picture taken and lots of selfies I have of that week. Didn’t realise that I would get recognised by Indians during the Pak match so that was enjoyable too.

Then on the morning of our South Africa’s match, my friend sent me his brother’s picture with a few fans who had printed my picture on their t-shirts. Awe that was really a humbling moment personally. And the picture must have gone viral because ICC media team contacted me to get their contact for an interview and I had to reply saying I don’t know those guys.

Then I tried searching for them on LinkedIn asking if anyone knew them. I got lucky and found two of their names. Anyways, I got in touch and told them to contact a certain ID if they put on the T-shirt again for a match. So I was lucky they had come over from the US and were attending another match where they got interviewed.

Jay – How was your experience meeting Wasim Akram?

One biggest perk of getting famous was the interview with Wasim Akram and getting the ticket sponsored for Ind-Pak (2019 World Cup) match. I actually went to his house for the interview and was expecting a towering man to show up. But saw a familiar and friendly face and down to earth person. It was fun talking to him and a delightful experience. I was so excited driving toward his house.

Jay – Tell us a bit about the Pakistani cricket community in the UK.

The fan following picks up when the Pakistani team is visiting England. There are a few active fan groups who organise events and tickets. Like these groups have already bought the tickets for next year’s visit by Pakistan. So much dedicated fun.

Jay – How did you feel when International Cricket was banned in Pakistan?

Well, I believe in life everything happens for a reason by God. So yes, we were isolated for so many years and that the younger generations did not see international cricket, but then we became the world’s best test team while playing in UAE as well. But we have lost a great deal and our cricket is still catching up with new methods.

Jay – Few words on Pakistan – India rivalry?

To be fair, the Indian team is the top 3 in the world if not the best and will be favourite for any international tournament. The next one is in India so definitely, India will play in the semifinals. Best of luck with that. I hope this COVID thing improves by then and we have full crowd participation. It makes a huge difference in the player’s performances as well.

As I mentioned earlier, I have grown up watching Pakistan play and obviously matches with India are the most anticipated. And I have the unique experience of watching it in Pakistan, then in the Middle East and in England. The atmosphere is exactly the same – electric. You know what, my favourite players are 3 from India – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and M.S. Dhoni. And I was fortunate to see all three in Manchester for that World Cup game. Plus I also got to see the actor Ranveer Singh.

Jay – Which are your top three memes that made you laugh the most?

Jay – Your top three fan-made caricatures?

Thank you so much for reading. Hope you enjoyed it. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on my name @bhavsarJ2_0 and make sure you don’t miss out any other cricket related interviews.

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