A Pakistan fan in Melbourne, sporting his country’s green ODI shirt, has taken social media by storm. Why? Because his shirt had Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s name on it!
The Melbourne Test between Australia and Pakistan has seen plenty of records, but this unique show of solidarity has not gone unnoticed.
A spectator wearing a Pakistani cricket jersey during the ongoing Boxing Day Test match at the MCG! ?#AusvPak
pic @CricFit pic.twitter.com/B6315fflZa— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) December 28, 2016
On the cricketing front, Azhar Ali created history by becoming the first Pakistan batsman to score a double ton in Tests versus Australia in Australia. David Warner and Steven Smith smashed their 17th centuries, with the Australian skipper going past 1000 runs in the calendar year for the third time.
Melbourne has a huge Asian community, many of them from the sub-continent. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian limited overs skipper, has a massive fan following in Pakistan.
During India’s tour to Pakistan in 2006, Dhoni slammed three fifties in five games and ended the series with an average of 219. During the third ODI in Lahore, Dhoni smashed 72 off 46 balls to take India to victory.
When he was named Man of the Match, Pervez Musharraf, who was the Pakistan President at that time, said, “I saw a placard which said ‘Dhoni have a haircut’. If you want to take my opinion, you look good… Don’t have a hair cut.”
Tough times for India-Pakistan cricket ties
With diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan at an all-time low following the terror attacks of Pathankot and Uri, a bilateral Test series has not taken place for the last nine years. Even people on opposite sides of the fence, who show their support, have landed in trouble.
In spite of poor diplomatic relationship between India and Pakistan, players remain good friends as this photo of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shahid Afridi shows (AP)
In 2016, during India’s Republic Day celebrations, a Pakistani fan of cricketer Virat Kohli was arrested for hoisting the Indian flag on the roof of his home in Lahore.
Umar Daraz said he hoisted the flag to pay homage to Kohli. Daraz was arrested from his house. Posters of Kohli were found pasted on the walls of his home and he said he had no idea that he had committed a crime.
A similar incident occurred with a Shahid Afridi fan recently. On December 22, 2016, Ripon Chowdhury, a 21-year-old fan from Assam, India, was arrested for wearing a shirt bearing the name of the flamboyant all-rounder after complaints from some right-wing groups.
The arrest was slammed by Afridi, who said it was “shameful” to arrest someone for wearing a shirt with his name.