Champions Trophy Final: It’s Team Kohli for Pak captain’s Etawah uncle! | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Champions Trophy Final: It’s Team Kohli for Pak captain’s Etawah uncle!

“His team cannot match our team. We have better players and our team is superior. You can bet me that India will win the trophy,” says Mehboob Hasan.

lucknow Updated: Jun 17, 2017 13:37 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Despite tricky visa regulations and only three face-to-face meetings Hasan and Sarfaraz share a close bond.
Despite tricky visa regulations and only three face-to-face meetings Hasan and Sarfaraz share a close bond.(File Photo)

When India take on arch-rival Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final at the Oval on Sunday, Mehboob Hasan from Etawah will be rooting for Team India.

However, it is a different matter that Hasan’s nephew Sarfaraz Ahmad is captain of the Pakistan team. So how would he deal with the pressure of an India-Pakistan match? “Where is the pressure? He (Sarfaraz) is playing for his team. My children and I always root for Team India,” says Hasan.

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“His team cannot match our team. We have better players and our team is superior. You can bet me that India will win the trophy,” says Hasan, who once went to dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer to pray for Sarfaraz getting a chance in Pakistan’s playing XI team.

Hasan, a senior clerk with Etawah Agriculture Engineering College, lives in Etawah with his family and children Ayesha and Salman.

Salman is an engineering student in Lucknow and he stays in touch with his cousin through What’sApp. He was flooded with congratulatory messages when Sarfaraz played valiant innings to drive his team into Champions Trophy final.

Sarfaraz’s mother Aqeela Bano (Hasan’s sister), after marrying Shakeel Ahmad, moved to Karachi where the family runs a stationery shop.

Despite tricky visa regulations and only three face-to-face meetings Hasan, 52, and Sarfaraz, 30, share a close bond. Sarfaraz came to Etawah for the first time as a four-year-old along with his mother to attend Hasan’s marriage in 1991. They met for the second time in June 2015 when Hasan visited Karachi for Sarfaraz’s marriage. Later, Hasan and his family also watched him play at Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. “He flew us from Karachi to Lahore for this match,” he recalls with pride. Last time the uncle-nephew met was in Chandigarh where Pakistan played Australia in a World Cup match.

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“I am happy he is doing so well in life and cricket,” says Hasan.

Hasan keeps in touch with his sister Aqeela through Skype. “She is not well these days. I want to go and see her in Karachi,” he says. Recalling an interesting anecdote, Hasan says, his mother used to visit Pakistan frequently and would worry over her grandson’s cricket frenzy. “She often fretted about Sarfaraz’s passion for cricket and would say he might end up hitting someone.”