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India on their lips, world’s their playground for super fans

They are not as prominent as the Barmy Army, but when it comes to supporting their team, they can travel any distance or spend any amount to see them play, and win. The recent betting scandal hasn’t deterred them either. Somshuvra Laha reports.

cricket Updated: Jul 09, 2013 02:06 IST
Somshuvra Laha

They are not as prominent as the Barmy Army, but when it comes to supporting their team, they can travel any distance or spend any amount to see them play, and win. The recent betting scandal hasn’t deterred them either.

Meet the travelling India fans. They live across North America where the only way to stay in touch with the game is through cable television during unearthly hours.

But the madness reaches a crescendo when India come visiting. “We started planning our trip a year back when we heard that India could come to the West Indies,” said Nitin Kapur, a 33-year-old businessman from Calgary, who watched both matches at the Sabina Park last week with his three friends.

Uncommon fans


A seven-day trip to Jamaica, including tickets to the ‘Party Mound’ at the Sabina cost the quartet $15,000 (around R9 lakh). India lost both matches but they didn’t mind. “You can’t call us common fans. We are the passionate ones,” said Kapur.

A more fanatic group at the Sabina Park consists of engineers who have taken official leave and come down from Texas to watch India play. Fans of Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja, they call themselves the ‘Moustache Brigade’. Replete with India colours and gladiator helmets, this group proudly twirled their fake moustaches every time Dhawan hit a boundary.

“Not only in the Caribbean, we even go to England since it’s only an eight-hour trip,” said 37-year-old Vinay Tambe.

For this group, planning started once the series was confirmed by the Indian board. “We are no ordinary fans.

Ever since we have been travelling, we always stay in the same hotel as the team. No matter how expensive, we have to stay there,” said Anubhav Rajan. That alone takes the chunk, as for five days these fans have to shell out around $10,000 (around R6 lakh). Money is no obstacle for them.

“Only some Indians can afford to spend like this. But we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to see our stars from close,” said Rajan.

Ask if cricket has taken a hit after the betting scandal two months ago, the fans are united in denial.

“You need to credit these guys for the hard work they do. After all, they just won us the Champions Trophy,” said Kapur.

“This is a case of one or two bad apples. We feel 99% of the cricketers are clean. Anyway, they make a lot of money. I don’t think they would want to risk their image by participating in these things,” said Rajan.