Ali Hasnain is a young, successful Delhi lawyer who has been following India's progress in the World Cup with something of a religious fervour. He desperately wants India to win. There is also another feeling that accompanies it. Every time he watches a match with his family, he admits the whole room is silently anxious about the performances of Mohammed Kaif and Zaheer Khan. Ali doesn't like feeling this way but sees it as a reaction to the taunts of Bal Thackeray and the Sangh parivar. "They keep saying Muslims are Pakistanis. When Zaheer and Kaif do well and win a match for India, they reaffirm our place in the country. Especially after Gujarat, the rise of these two is the only good news for the community."
Most Indian Muslims see Kaif and Zaheer's playing as almost a vindication of their own patriotic credentials. Cricket historian Ramachandra Guha describes this phenomenon as deeply unfortunate and says "it is very unfair to put this sort of burden on these two young lads. But if Muslims are anxious to see Kaif and Zaheer do well, it's a sad reflection of their insecurity in these times".