M A I N   N E W S

Punjabi hospitality bowls over Chacha Jalil
Sarbjit Dhaliwal and G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Though the Indian team failed to bowl out the Pakistani side today, Punjabis here have certainly bowled over their Pakistani guests with their hospitality.

This is testified by Chacha Abdul Jalil, easily the most popular Pakistan cricket fan. “You have outdone us in hospitality. We did our best for Indian visitors when the Indian team visited Pakistan last year. But that was no match for the way Indians have been hospitable to Pakistanis now”, says Jalil, who is famously known as Chacha among Pakistan players and cricket fans not only in his country but also in other parts of the world.

“Next time, we would try to reciprocate with more vigour,” says Chacha, bowled over by the warm welcome he and his countrymen got here.

A die-hard cricket fan, Chacha has been accompanying the Pakistan team as its admirer, well-wisher and morale booster since 1969. Hailing from a Punjabi family of Sialkot, he has watched over 300 Test and one-day matches involving Pakistan. “I have been to all countries where Pakistan has played. I have seen most matches in Sharjah.” He watched all matches of the World Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2003.

“His most cherished moment has been the famous six hit by Javed Miandad off the bowling of Chetan Sharma in Sharjah. And his saddest moment was the defeat handed down by the Indian team to Pakistan team in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. He is very emotional about the Pakistan team. Whenever any Pakistani player hits a four or six, he waves the Pakistani flag from the pavilion like a man possessed.

He sold his house for Rs 15 lakh in 1999 to arrange money to watch the World Cup in England. “I love this game and I am prepared to make any sacrifice for it”, adds Chacha, whose present trip to India is sponsored by the Pakistan Cricket Board and a private company.

Chacha is a witty man. “Dasvi pass karan to baad, main naare maran da course keeta hai (After passing matriculation, I did a ‘course’ in slogan raising),” he adds with a big smile on his face.

He hails from a family of sportspersons. His brother was a famed kabaddi player, while his son Wasim failed to make to the Pakistan team and plays at the lower level now. “I miss your Chachi here and would buy a sari for her as a gift from this country”, says Chacha, who has been gifted a beautiful jersey, T-shirts, etc. by his Indian fan from Ludhiana, Rajiv Kochhar.

Sialkot has produced legendary cricketers likes Zaheer Abbas, Ijaz Ahmed. All-rounder Shoaib Malik is also from Sialkot. Chacha is a strong supporter of Indo-Pak friendship and eager to see it flourish.


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