This is Ram Babu, the other famous fan who is often at stadiums cheering for Dhoni. His method is similar to the more famous Sudhir Gautam. Like Sudhir, he too puts on body paint and has his idol’s name and jersey number painted at the back. He tells me people still don’t recognise him, specially security.
A tall guy just over six feet enters with a flag in hand but is straightaway stopped by the police. He attains no media pass but is dressed in the Indian team’s training kit.
After almost 10 minutes of trying to satisfy himself to the security, he decides to wait. By then the entire team has almost boarded, but that guy keep on waiting. Finally, he shouts out: “Mahi bhai”, and MS Dhoni who is the last to step out of the bus, recognises him. Dhoni waves to the security team and tells them: “Usey aane do” (let him in) and the guy is freed from the hassle. He doesn’t follow the team right then. He waits for them to make their way to the ground and once that’s done, he makes his way into one of the sections of the stand.
He always requires some or the other player to assure them that he is no threat. “They just stopped me again. This is usual. But I know this will happen. I don’t have any letter to show like Sudhir. I just have the Indian captain’s assurance,” Ram says. “But it doesn’t bother me because at the end of the day I get to watch Dhoni sir.”
Mohammad Bashir, alias Chicago Chacha admits he has never met Abdul Jalil, also known as Chacha Cricket, who was not allowed by the Pakistan government to travel for the World T20 in India. But it doesn’t matter. Ever since he travelled to the West Indies during the 2007 World Cup, Bashir’s cricket connection began and he never looked back. He has seen Pakistan win the 2009 T20 World Cup in England and has followed the team across different nations. Like Ram, Bashir too is a Dhoni fan, with Shahid Afridi being a close second. His idea during an India-Pakistan game is simple. “I cheer for both; wave flags of both teams. Sudhir and Ram join me and we have a good time watching the match together,” Bashir says.