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  Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Divided loyalties at Old Trafford
Pakistan fans at Old Trafford
Pakistan fans in full cry at Old Trafford
BBC Online's Robert Fielding discovers divided loyalties at Old Trafford.

England versus Pakistan is a Test match which has been actively marketed in the Asian communities across the north of England.


We are proud to support Pakistan
Khuram Javid

Perhaps it has caused sporting confusion.

Some of the young British Asians enthusiastically waving their Pakistan flags around Old Trafford seem to view this as a home fixture for their team.

They were not too pleased with being questioned over their divided loyalties.

But just five overs into the crack of the bat and the hooting of horns, a group of teenagers from Bradford admitted that they were split over who to support.

As the bails flew and Andy Caddick dismissed Abdur Razzaq, one young man told me he was proud to cheer on England, while his friends said the same about Pakistan.

Sijad Saddique gets in the mood

Days ago England captain Nasser Hussain - born in Madras raised in Essex - tried to rally Asian youngsters into supporting the England team rather than the country of origin of their ancestors.

Hussain felt the number of supporters backing Pakistan during the first Test at Lords was overwhelming and disappointing.

"British Asians find difficulty supporting a team in which no player speaks their language or practices their religion," he said.

The remarks have not gone down well with some at Old Trafford.

Sijad Saddique, an 18-year-old from Oldham, said: "Nasser has no right to say what he says. We support Manchester United and they don't speak our language.

"We support Pakistan for the same reason England supporters support England. But if England played Australia we would support England because that is where we live."

Khuram Javid, a 25-year-old from Manchester, added: "We are proud to support Pakistan. We have dual nationality, and besides, everybody travels to different countries."

Meanwhile one of their heroes, Wasim Akram, is in the process of ending his Test career in England, here at Old Trafford.

Andrew Caddick celebrates
Caddick celebrates his first wicket

Wasim played for Lancashire between 1988 and 1998 and is fond indeed of Old Trafford.

And he will celebrate his 35th birthday on Sunday at his favourite ground.

This fondness is not lost on Faheem Ahmed, a 13-year-old from Manchester.

"We will miss Wasim," he said. "He is a legend to us. The England batsmen will be scared of him because it is his home ground.

"Pakistan just need to play calmly," he added.

And so does everybody else. Oldham and its heavy policing may only be ten miles away, but thankfully things are passing off peacefully.

As Inzaman bulldozes his way towards his century the overcast sky above Stand B is offset nicely by air horns and joyous Pakistan flag wavers, outnumbering their Union Jack counterparts.


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