Teenage obsession is knit tightly with emotional attachments, stitched with innumerable memories. The passion runs deep, and the inexplicable love for contemporary heroes stands the test of time.
For 14-year-old Alaysha, her love for Babar Azam has brought her to Hyderabad from Bhopal to watch the Pakistan captain in the flesh. The obsession is such that she claims to be Babar’s ‘biggest fan’ and has come with her family to watch Pakistan play against the Netherlands in its World Cup opener.
“I just love Babar Azam, and whether he scores a century or zero, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s just that I am a huge fan of cricket, and Babar is my favourite player,” Alaysha told Sportstar.
Her father, Arif Beig, is also a cricket enthusiast, and Alaysha is in town with her family.
“My Abba (Father) used to watch cricket a lot and still does, and it was in 2020 that I started watching Babar when he was playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). He played very well in the whole PSL, and I just got hooked,” she said.
Alaysha’s phone sports a picture of the Pakistan captain on the back cover, and such is the adulation that she has cut-outs and a dedicated Instagram fan page.
“It is the first time that Babar is coming to India, and we have planned this trip since the ICC announced the schedule. We wanted to stay at the hotel where the Pakistan team is staying, but the prices were very high, ranging close to Rs 1.5 lakhs, so we decided to stay at another hotel. I have an Instagram fan page, and I keep tagging the Pakistan team,” the 14-year-old said.
Her idol worship did bear fruit as she managed to draw the attention of Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq.
“Imam-ul-Haq and Hasan Ali have seen and liked my stories, and Imam usually sees my stories, and he is very kind-hearted. I have skipped my exams to watch Babar play, and I am looking forward to meeting him,” Alaysha said.
To sustain a passion requires support, and Alaysha thanked her parents for supporting her dream of watching Babar live in action.
“My parents have sacrificed a lot, and it means a lot for me to watch Babar and the Pakistan team play live. It’s a dream come true,” she said.
Meanwhile, the lens of the host broadcaster zooms in towards Alaysha and her sister, with her elder brother forming a protective ring and her little sister waving the Pakistan flag.
“I love the Indian team, and Shubman Gill is my favourite. Abba ko Rahul Dravid bohot pasand hai (My father likes Rahul Dravid a lot), but I like Kohli... I want to be an entrepreneur and be involved in the game, and that’s my ambition. For now, my dream of watching Babar live has come true, but it will be great if I can just meet him once,” Alaysha said before heading back to her seat cheering for Pakistan.
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