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Lucknow looks up to fan from Kabul

The Afghans lost the opening game by 7 wickets, but Khan is getting ready to watch the next ODI on Saturday

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow

  • Published 8.11.19, 3:05 AM
  • Updated 8.11.19, 3:05 AM
Sher Khan
Sher Khan Telegraph picture

A cricket fan from Afghanistan has found getting a hotel room in the city of nawabs a tall order.

Sher Khan has come all the way from Kabul to support Rashid Khan and his boys who are playing a one-day series against the West Indies at Lucknow’s Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium — Afghanistan’s adopted home ground.

But Sher Khan, who reached the city on Tuesday in time for Wednesday’s first ODI, found himself facing a problem more baffling than Rashid’s googlies. His height.

At 8’2”, the Afghan was met with bewildered stares as he went hunting for a hotel room. The staff at the front desk of all the hotels he visited politely turned him down on the ground that none of their rooms had a bed matching his frame. Most king size beds in Indian hotels have a length of between 78 and 80 inches — someone with a height of around 6’8” would just about fit into these.

“While I was roaming from one area to the other in search of a hotel, hundreds of people were following me and cheering me out of curiosity. I felt a bit uncomfortable and went to the police station for help. An officer there asked two constables to take me to Rajdhani Hotel where he called the manager to accommodate me,” Khan, who is in his mid-forties, said.

The Afghans lost the opening game by seven wickets, but Khan isn’t too worried and is getting ready to watch the next ODI on Saturday. On Thursday, he enjoyed biryani and kebabs in the old city area and met over 200 people who have become his fans before retiring for the day.

Sanjeev Sinha, circle officer of Kaisarbagh who had helped Khan, said: “He is our guest in Lucknow and it is our responsibility to ensure his pleasant stay here. The policemen on duty at every crossroad know him and will help him reach wherever he wants to go.”

Sinha said Khan has permission to stay in India till December 1. The ODI series, which ends on Monday, will be followed by three T20Is and a one-off Test from November 27-December 1, all at Lucknow. The tall Afghan leans 90 degree and slowly enters the hotel room. He has attached a wooden bench to his bed to adjust his length for a comfortable sleep.

“Afghanistan lost the first match on Wednesday. But I am happy to see my country’s players on the pitch. They look so beautiful. Loss or victory doesn’t affect me,” Khan said. But he is a tad embarrassed at all the attention he is drawing. “I don’t want many people to visit me in the hotel because the management here is not comfortable. Over 200 people came to see me on Thursday. Other guests in the hotel must be unhappy with me,” a source in the hotel quoted Khan as saying.

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