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ICC Champions Trophy: It’s Team Virat Kohli for PAK captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s uncle

When defending champions India face Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy final, they will have one special fan rooting for them.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 16, 2017 22:24 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Haidar Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Kanpur
Champions Trophy 2017,India vs Pakistan,Virat Kohli
Sarfraz Ahmed with his uncle Mehboob Hasan - who feels India will easily defeat Pakistan to win the ICC Champions Trophy title for a record third time. (HT Photo )

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

However, it is a different matter that Hasan’s nephew Sarfraz 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 (Sarfraz) is playing for his team. My children and I always root for Team India,” says Hasan.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Zaheer Abbas urges Pakistan to take revenge vs India)

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

Mehboob Hasan with Sarfaraz Ahmed at the latter’s marriage in June 2015 in Karachi. (HT Photo )

Hasan, a senior clerk with Etawah Agriculture Engineering College, lives in Etawah with his family. Sarfraz’s mother Aqeela Bano (Hasan’s sister), after marrying Shakeel Ahmad, moved to Karachi, where the family runs a stationary shop.

Despite tricky visa regulations and only three face-to-face meetings, Hasan, 52, and Sarfraz, 30, share a close bond. Sarfraz 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 Sarfraz’s marriage. Later, Hasan and his family also watched him play at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Jasprit Bumrah wary of mercurial Pakistan ahead of final)

“He flew us from Karachi to Lahore for this match,” he recalls with pride. The last time uncle and nephew met was in Chandigarh last year when Pakistan played Australia in a World Twenty20 match. “I am happy he is doing so well in life and cricket,” says Hasan.

(Read | ‘Advantage India in ICC Champions Trophy final vs Pakistan’)

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 Sarfraz’s passion for cricket and would say he might end up hitting someone.”

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 20:38 IST