Uncle Twenty20 drives cricket fans in UAE

Dubai: Zaman Khan is fast becoming the face of cricket in the United Arab Emirates during international matches as he waves a green and white Pakistan flag to make his country`s players feel at home away from home.

The 54-year-old from Hafizabad in the central Punjab province in Pakistan is a chauffeur in Dubai and has not missed a single match ever since Pakistan was forced to play here due to security fears back home.

On grounds, Zaman drives the fans crazy, chanting slogans for his players. His big moustaches he grows every time a match approaches make him recognizable in every stand he sits.

"It is great fun," Zaman told reporters. "I love watching cricket and people around me love my attire, the flag, my moustache and my slogans, so I am happy to have this double enjoyment -- watching cricket and getting popular."

Cricket had been a childhood interest for Zaman. His native town, in the Gujranwala district, was known for its export quality rice but the sprawling fields were mainly used for a game of village cricket by youth.

"I used to play a lot of cricket," remembers Zaman. "Once television came to my village I used to watch cricket for hours and then I got a chance to attend a few games in Lahore before I came here for a living."

Once Pakistan was forced to play its home series on neutral venues, Zaman along with his friends started to take time off to watch his team play.

"It is deplorable that we can`t hold our cricket in our homeland and problems in Pakistan also make us expatriates sad, but the plus point is that a lot of people here who have nothing for entertainment got the chance of their lives," said Zaman.

Bureau Report

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