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Fates align a second time for Sluggo’s superfan

Former India cricketer Robin Uthappa, right, shares World Cup memories of Bermuda’s Dwayne Leverock with fan Ahsan Aadil Shaikh (Photograph supplied)

A visiting fan left elated after calling on Bermudian cricket hero Dwayne “Sluggo” Leverock has scored lucky a second time after getting to meet Leverock’s counterpart from the 2007 World Cup match that made international headlines.

US tourist Ahsan Aadil Shaikh was on cloud nine in July when his visit to the island landed him in a taxi with driver Jimmy Tweed, who insisted on bringing the cricket lover for an impromptu visit to Mr Leverock’s home.

The guest to the island, from Worcester, Massachusetts, got to meet the man whose one-handed catch against the India team in the ICC Cricket World Cup match in Trinidad captivated viewers.

The two re-enacted the catch in a meeting that made the front page of The Royal Gazette, with the edition signed and posted to Mr Shaikh.

During the encounter, Mr Leverock joked that his guest should find a way of meeting next with Robin Uthappa, the batter from India who sent him the iconic diving catch — and remind him of the big day.

Mr Shaikh told the Gazette it was “just some light-hearted banter, and I didn’t think too much of it since that day”.

But a few weeks later, when he headed to Florida to catch some ten-overs-a-side cricket games, Mr Shaikh said he landed “exhausted” late in the afternoon, and was headed straight to his hotel room when he spotted a familiar face “casually hanging out in the lobby”: Mr Uthappa.

Amazed, he wrote: “But no matter how much I rubbed my eyes, it was still the same Robbie Uthappa we grew up watching. Clean-shaven. Curly hair. Unmistakable swag.

“I walk up to him in total disbelief and ask if he could spare a few minutes to chat. He asked me to wait by the bar, where he joined me not too long after.”

Asked if he recalled the 2007 World Cup, the former India batsman did all too well.

Bermuda took a drubbing from India at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, but Mr Uthappa remembered the Trinidad showdown as “a forgettable experience for us as a team” as India were eliminated early.

“It was at this moment I pulled out my autograph book that had a photo of Leverock and me from Bermuda, as well as a copy of The Royal Gazette that picked up our story from Reddit and published it on their front page,” Mr Shaikh wrote.

“I kid you not, the moment Uthappa saw that photo, he let out the widest smile known to humankind, followed by sheer amusement at this movie-like life that I was getting to live this summer.

“Deep down, I was relieved that he was such a great sport about all this and I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction.

“I then proceed to ask him if he was comfortable taking a photo with my book that had Leverock recreating that diving pose from 2007, and he happily obliged.”

Mr Uthappa even told the photographer where to stand so that the angles did not blur Mr Leverock’s face — with Mr Shaikh declaring him “an absolute legend”.

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Published August 31, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated August 31, 2023 at 3:51 pm)

Fates align a second time for Sluggo’s superfan

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