Karachi-born Mohammad Bashir Bozai, famously known as ‘Chacha Chicago’, has vowed to give-up watching India-Pakistan play at ICC events after MS Dhoni’s retirement from international cricket.
On August 15, Dhoni brought down curtains on his 16-year-long illustrious career, thus ending the speculations which were doing the rounds since India’s exit from the 2019 World Cup. Few minutes after MSD’s retirement, his former India teammate Suresh Raina followed suit by retiring from international cricket.
Travelling the world to watch India-Pakistan matches doesn’t make sense anymore to Bashir, who endured abuses from Pakistani fans while cheering for his favourite cricketer, Dhoni.
“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 told PTI from Chicago, where 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 unspoken bond between Bashir and Dhoni blossomed after the 2011 World Cup semifinal between the two countries.
A ticket for the game between the arch-rivals in Mohali was a precious commodity, but Dhoni arranged it for ‘Chacha Chicago’. It was enough for Bashir to ‘unconditionally love’ the World Cup-winning skipper for life.
Now, since he is done with attending live games, his next stop is Ranchi.
“I will go to his house in Ranchi when things get normal (post COVID-19 pandemic). That is the least I can do to wish him all the best for the future. I will also ask Ram Babu (another Dhoni superfan, from Mohali, to come with me).
“I would have travelled to see him in the IPL but there are travel conditions and with my heart condition, it is not safe to do so,” said Bashir.
Speaking about the most cherished memory as a lifelong Dhoni fan, the 65-year-old said: “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 openly cheer for India and for that, he, several times, had to endure abuses from Pakistani fans.
“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 come first anyway,” he signed off.