In the next installment in our series on our touring members, we bring you the Dictator:
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a young British Muslim who has lived all his life in the UK and am a very dedicated Pakistan cricket fan. I have attended every Pakistan game since the 1999 World Cup in the UK, when in all glory Pakistan got to the semi finals in the World Cup. Although I have been born and bred here in the UK, my heart has always been in Pakistan with my family and friends, I take pride in supporting my home country and hold cricket as a sport very dear to my heart.
When did your love for Pakistan cricket begin?
As a British Pakistani, the love of cricket was embedded in me from the day I was born; it’s my home land and my background from where my parents are from. Pakistan cricket represents me and my values. When I attend these matches it feels I’m close to my home land, I feel proud and honoured in representing and supporting Pakistan cricket team, whether they win or lose or whatever country they might be in, I will always be there.
When did you first go to a Pakistan game? How was it?
My very first memory was during the World Cup in 1999 in Bristol, Pakistan v West Indies. Sitting up close and seeing such amazing talented players such as Sohaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq and Saqlain Mushtaq, really increased my love for Pakistan cricket and also the team. For me they are our national heroes, who are out there and representing Pakistan to the world. That was the day I decided that I need to support them and represent my nation to the world as well.
My Last tour was Pakistan v Sri Lanka in Pakistan when the horrific incident happened in Lahore. I attended the Test match in Karachi between Feb 21-25, 2009. I saw a fantastic innings from Samaraweera who scored 231 and Jayawardene, who scored 240. Marvellous innings of 313 from Younus Khan and Kamran Akmal with 158* were a joy to witness. This was a great experience attending 5 days of Test cricket in Karachi and sitting next to Chacha Cricket.
Tell us about your character, The Dictator. Where did the idea come from?
I am a very fun loving person, and I enjoy a good joke and laugh. I can never attend a cricket match without going unnoticed, as I always wore some kind of funny wig or attire that represented the Pakistan flag colours. This year I thought I would up my game and go as the Dictator. It wasn’t a very hard decision as all my friends said I resemble him. Although it did not carry the colours of the Pakistan national flag, I knew it would get me attention and show my dedication to the Pakistan cricket team through my Dictator outfit.
Where did you hear about the Stani Army? What actually attracted you towards them?
I happen to get in contact with Mr Pakistan on twitter, who is also a very dedicated Pakistan Cricket fan, and he invited me to join him on the green bus in Edgbaston. I noticed some key supporters that were always present at Pakistan matches, Mr Pakistan was one of them, and to join forces with people like him was an amazing experience and feeling. It was a pleasure and a very proud moment to join and be part of the Stani Army. Together, we supporters show our love and dedication for Pakistan cricket.
Your first game with the Stani Army was the India v Pakistan Champions Trophy game. Describe the day?
It was a fun packed day full of pure dedication and love for Pakistan cricket. It was great to sit and talk and take pictures with supporters who shared the same love and passion I had for the Pakistan cricket team. As we joined forces, with our chants and our character outfits, we felt even more proud to be Pakistani and stand together and support the Pakistan cricket team. For me it’s more than just being part of an army of fans, it shows union and brotherhood and coming together for our love of our nation, Pakistan.
Do you have any future plans?
So far I’m planning to follow where ever the Pakistan Cricket matches take me. This may include a trip with Mr Pakistan and the rest of the Stani Army on the tour to Dubai in November when Pakistan play South Africa. Also, I would love to attend the next World Cup with the Stani Army which will be held in Bangladesh. But in the mean time, I will continue to play my local cricket matches on the weekend and fulfil my love for the sport.
Pakistan have just had a poor tournament. Any messages for our fellow fans out there?
This is our nation, and we need to keep supporting them, never give up supporting, you win some and you lose some. We have some world class players in our team, and when Pakistan are in force no one can stop us so I know Pakistan will always bounce back. Pakistan zindabaaaaad!!!!!!!!!!!
Follow the Dictator on twitter: @cricketdictator