Swami Army sweeps up Pakistani recruit
Hamilton: Three heart attacks haven’t stopped Pakistan cricket fan Mohammad Bashir from following his team around the world.
And if they are not in action, the Chicago-based Bashir, 62, is more than happy to watch arch-rivals India.
The proof came in the usually sedate surroundings of Hamilton’s Seddon Park, transformed into a riot of colour and noise by India’s Swami Army of supporters for the reigning champions World Cup Pool B match against Ireland on Tuesday.
Bashir, who has become a friend of India ‘super fan’ Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary, is a huge admirer of India batting great Sachin Tendulkar.
“I love you Dhoni,” shouted Bashir. “Dhoni is my heart and I hope his team reached the final and play against Pakistan.”
Bashir said he had no problems supporting India when not watching a Pakistan match.
“My wife Rafia is from Hyderabad Deccan, India. I love Dhoni. He is my hero.
“I have joined Indian supporters for this match and hope I support both the teams (India and Pakistan) when they play the final.”
Chaudhary, wearing a number ten shirt in honour of Tendulkar, said he was excited to be in New Zealand.
“It’s a wonderful country blessed with nature and I am enjoying the tour with India looking so solid in their title defence,” said Chaudhary, who has reportedly cycled over 15,000 miles to watch India play at various cities at home, Bangladesh and Lahore in Pakistan.
Wearing their team’s blue kit and holding the tri-colour national flag, the Swami Army were out in force.
The green, orange and white flags flew in large parts of the stadium, while fans were also displaying “won’t give it back” placards, referring to the World Cup trophy which India won on home soil four years ago.