At a time when the India-Pakistan bilateral tie is showing no signs of improvement, two super fans – Sudhir Kumar and Basheer Chacha – have shown the way ahead with their remarkable friendship.

The arch-rivals had not played a full bilateral Test series since 2007 when Pakistan visited India for three Tests and five One-Day Internationals. They played a short series of three ODIs and two T20s in India in December 2012, but otherwise, both have faced each other only in the ICC organised events or the Asia Cups.

The cricket boards of both the countries are also gearing up for off-the-field tussle after PCB sued BCCI for not honouring a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The government of both the countries are at loggerheads too due to various reasons. However, the bitter bilateral relationship has not at all affected Kumar and Basheer Chacha.

Their governments might not be ready for talks, but that did not stop Pakistan’s Mohammad Basheer opening his heart, and his wallet, to ensure India’s most recognised cricket fan, Sudhir Kumar could be at the Asia Cup 2018.

In a beautiful gesture, Basheer Chacha paid for Kumar’s tickets and stay in Dubai for the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 after the latter could not contact his childhood hero and sponsor, Sachin Tendulkar.

“I called Kumar to ask when he is coming to Dubai for the Asia Cup,” Basheer told AFP.

“But I found him a bit disheartened because of no sponsorship, so I paid for his ticket and stay in Dubai,” added the Chicago-based Pakistani.

Basheer Chacha and Sudhir, India vs Pakistan
Basheer Chacha and Sudhir.

The two are now staying in the same room in India’s team hotel in Dubai.

Kumar first met Basheer during the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent. The pair became firm friends and had been getting together at India-Pakistan matches ever since.

Kumar, meanwhile, thanked Basheer for his help and opened up on the cordial relationship with the Pakistan fan.

“I owe this tour to Basheer who has shown that friendship has no boundaries,” said an elated Kumar.

“We pull each other’s legs during the matches, but at the end of the day cricket brings people of the two nations closer,” he added.

Kumar has seen India play in 64 Tests, more than 300 one-day internationals and 72 Twenty20 Internationals. He was also invited to the Indian dressing room after the Men in Blue won the 2011 World Cup. However, his favourite tour came in 2006 when he travelled to Pakistan.

“I can’t forget the Pakistan tour for the love and following I received,” said Kumar.

“I went through various hassles to get a visa for Pakistan, and when I reached Wagah on a bicycle they initially did not allow me to cross the border but somehow I managed,” he added.

Basheer also opened up on the reception he gets in India

“People-to-people love exists, no matter what happens at the top level,” said Basheer.

“India and Pakistan not playing each other in their countries is sad, and I always pray that relations get back to normal so that we can play each other,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is out of the competition after losing to Bangladesh on Wednesday. India, on the other hand, has sealed their place in the title-decider of Asia Cup 2018. However, the Men in Blue defeated Pakistan twice in the competition.