Seven years after its last visit to India, the Pakistan cricket team arrived in Hyderabad for the 2023 World Cup amidst unprecedented security. The team was accorded a warm welcome, with Pakistan’s biggest fan, Mohammad Bashir, fondly called Bashir Chacha, in attendance to receive the team at the airport.
Several media outlets reported that Bashir was detained for questioning by the airport authorities and the security agencies, but the Pakistan super fan confirmed such an incident never took place.
“I was never detained for questioning in the airport while I was there to receive the Pakistan team. It was just that they asked me not to wave the Pakistan flag due to security issues. They just took my flag and gave it back once the team departed. It was a fantastic welcome, and I am very happy to be here in India for the World Cup,” Bashir told Sportstar in an exclusive interaction.
The Pakistan team arrived in the city on Wednesday evening, and the New Zealand team also touched base as the city gears up to host the World Cup. Bashir, in fact, arrived in the city two days before from Chicago and is currently staying at his relative’s house.
“I have been a Pakistan fan for so long, and I will travel wherever the Pakistan team is there. There was no such incident of me getting detained, and in fact, the hospitality was really good. The way things are arranged is really amazing, and I want to thank India and Hyderabad for the welcome,” Bashir said.
Pakistan will be playing its first World Cup warm-up match against New Zealand at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Friday, but the match will be held behind closed doors.
“I am aware that fans won’t be allowed, but I will try to support the team in all ways, as I have always done before. India is always special; aur yahan ke awaan main badi mohabbat hai (there is love in this country). I respect the decision to not allow fans, but I will try and see if I can be near the stadium if possible just to extend my support,” he said.
Meanwhile, the flavour of Hyderabadi Biryani, along with other delicacies, has charmed the Pakistan team, with the city hotel catering to every need of the visitors.
“It was a lovely reception, and we are completely enjoying our stay. The Biryani is awesome and from food to security, and practice facilities everything is good. But our focus will be on tomorrow’s match, and we would like to leave with the World Cup,” a PCB source travelling with the team said.
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