The Indian Premier League (IPL) is known for its cricket, glam and sham in India. When the tournament is on, millions are glued to the television or be a part of an electric atmosphere at the grounds. Fans some times even go an extra mile for their favourite teams or players and make headlines for the same.
Meet Javed Shah, a regular auto driver who has been offering free or ‘discounted-rate’ rides to passengers every time Yusuf Pathan knocks a big score in the IPL for the last three years.
This year, the die-hard Pathan fan has offered a completely free ride every time Yusuf scores a fifty; like that’s a very hard thing for the talented player.
If you’re in Valsad, a small town in the state of Gujarat, during an IPL season, you will more likely than not run into Javed Shah and his auto.
Locally known as a die-hard fan of Yusuf Pathan fan, Javed is an auto-driver by profession. While the year offers him a regular auto business, during the IPL Javed gets a little more busy than usual.
In the last three years, Javed has been giving discounted rides every time Yusuf crosses the fifty run mark. Until last year, his discounts ranged from 25 per cent to 75 per cent depending on how Yusuf played. But this year Javed has gone all out.
While talking to Sportstar, Javed said. “This year, every time Yusuf Bhai scores 50 or more runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad, passengers will get a free ride within the Valsad city. I will not charge a penny.”
“Until last year, I gave 25 percent discounts on the total fare, every time he scored 25-30 runs. The percentage would go up depending on the runs he scored. But he did not score too many runs, so I could not offer a 100 percent discount to anybody,” he added.
This year, Javed is very confident about the star players’ form and is banking on some big scores. He said, “I am confident that Yusuf Bhai will perform for Sunrisers’ this time.”
Javed’s rickshaw is a vehicle that shouts out love for Yusuf Pathan. With posters of the T20 star all around and also a fresh coat of paint. He said, “Many fans celebrate by visiting the ground. I show my love for bhai by serving people.”
Being the only earning member in his family, Javed finds it tough to make ends meet every year. But this does not stop him from showing his love for the game and his favourite player.
“I live in a small house with my wife, two children and my mother. It is tough to make ends meet but then, this is the least I can do to help people,” he says.
This high-level fascination with Yusuf Pathan started around three years ago when the latter traveled to Valsad for a match in the Ranjhi Trophy tournament. Remembering the fond memory, Javed said, “I met Yusuf Bhai and he later called me for a meal. It was such an honour to spend time with him. I still cherish those moments.”
This year, the IPL has no matches in the state of Gujarat. While Javed will not be able to make it to the stands to cheer on for his idol, he will make sure he watches every Sunrisers Hyderabad match on the television.
He said, “I want them to win and Bhai should score. That’s all matters.”
What a strong bond a sports personality can have with a fan, special and pure.