It is the stuff that friendships are made of.

Yogesh Pandey could not believe his luck when he received communication from Coca-Cola that he has been identified to go to London to watch the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 finals. Among the millions who had entered the contest from India, he was among the lucky few to earn the all-expenses paid trip.

But he just could not go. So, he asked his friend Durgesh Raj Pandey, a seasoned cricket buff, if he wanted to go instead. Durgesh was more than happy to step in and live his passion of watching the final match at Lord’s. After the necessary procedures were taken care of, Durgesh’s trip was approved. Thanks to Coca-Cola, Yogesh is happy he could do something special for his friend while Durgesh is set to have an experience of a lifetime.

Dugesh Pandey

It is just the stuff that happiness and friendships are made up of.

“My friend has made the impossible possible for me. I could not have imagined it in my dream and Yogesh has done it for me,” Durgesh says.

Durgesh’s passion for cricket has been visible since childhood. During the weekends in his school days, he would go to play cricket early in the morning at Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. That session would only get over after lunch. Such was the passion that the 5-6 hours would just fly by.

Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya are Durgesh’s favourite players from the Indian team. He had been hoping and praying that he would be able to watch the two Indian stars in action during the final, cheering every shot that they play. Sadly, that dream will remain unfulfilled as of now.

As he enrolled for a three-year diploma in Plastic Engineering at the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, Mysore, playing cricket took a backseat. The passion for the sport is still burning even though Durgesh is now considering pursuing further studies. The opportunity that Yogesh has given him has stoked his passion for cricket further.

Kolkata-based 40-year-old Mohammed Samser Ali had casually entered the contest and is now seriously gearing up to take the flight to London. Working as an insurance professional hardly leaves time to play cricket, but he could not have imagined anything better to satiate his passion for the sport.

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He had bought a PET bottle of Thums Up and entered the contest, played the online game and a week later, was identified as one of the winners. His family members were ecstatic that he was selected as one of the winners.

“I am a big fan of the Indian cricket team and love the way they play,” Samser says, who will be flying out of India for the first time. He would have loved to see the men in blue be part of the final.

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The memories of the 2011 tournament are still fresh in his mind. At the final of the 2011 edition in Mumbai, as then captain MS Dhoni hit the winning six, he had watched India’s World Cup win on the television at home with his family. This one promises to be a very different experience, one that he is sure will be etched in his memory forever.

Sadly, for him and millions of other fans, the Indian team will not be playing the finals.

Samser and Durgesh’s stories are just the kinds that cricket fans’ passions are made of. Their faith in their team is unwavering. They believe that, given the abilities of some of their favourite players, anything that is impossible can be made possible.

Here is wishing them the experience of a lifetime!

Disclaimer: Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd (CCIPL) does not have any control over issuance of visas or passports to the contest winners. The responsibility for these rest solely with the contest winners.