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Last Updated:  Saturday, 22 February, 2003, 16:57 GMT
Pakistan's favourite uncle
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Cape Town

Chacha Cricket is a familiar face at Pakistan matches

Pakistan veteran Wasim Akram could not help but smile when he heard a familiar call from the boundary.

"I'll see you in Sharjah," came the shout. "My wife is always praying for you."

Chacha Cricket - translated from Urdu as Uncle Cricket - is Pakistan's most famous spectator.

Dressed from head to toe in green, with a sequined star and crescent moon on his hat and a flag permanently in hand, he is to be found at every Pakistan match.

And now he was urging Wasim on to his 500th one-day international wicket.

There was a time when Chacha Cricket - or Abdul Jalil to his mother - was just another Pakistani fan.

My love is cricket - and happiness
Chacha Cricket
Born in Sialkot, north-west Pakistan, he watched his first international match on the Colin Cowdrey tour of 1969.

And whatever time he could get away from his job in the forestry department in the United Arab Emirates would be spent either playing or watching the game.

He started to be recognised by other Pakistan fans and a cult soon developed around his patriotic slogans.

Then, in 1997, he was taken by the idea of having an outfit made for him in Pakistan's colours.

Before long, crowds flocked to him when he appeared in cricket grounds and now he is officially sponsored by the Pakistan Cricket Board to follow the national team around the world.

"Jive, Jive Pakistan," he chants - "Long live Pakistan."

"My love is cricket - and happiness".

After a rummage in his bag he pulls out a signed postcard of himself on which he has written: "I love Pakistan & Pakistan is my life. Thanks. A Jalil".

Then he turns and starts up again: "Time is short. I need a wicket. Give me a four, give me a six" - or words to that effect, according to Hamid Zia, a Manchester-based Pakistani supporter sitting next to him.

It certainly makes a change from the monotonous Barmy Army chants, although one of Uncle Cricket's most cherished possessions is a Barmy Army shirt given to him during England's tour to Pakistan two winters ago.

"If England make it to the final I will wear the shirt," he says.

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