Not everyone in this Army is a Swami | india | Hindustan Times
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Not everyone in this Army is a Swami

Weather permitting, almost 70,000-80,000 fans are expected to throng to the MCG on the most special of all Australian cricket occasions - Boxing Day. Rohit Bhaskar reports.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2011 23:37 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Parthiv-Patel-during-the-net-practice-in-Chennai-HT-Photo-Vipin-Kumar
Parthiv-Patel-during-the-net-practice-in-Chennai-HT-Photo-Vipin-Kumar

Weather permitting, almost 70,000-80,000 fans are expected to throng to the MCG on the most special of all Australian cricket occasions - Boxing Day. Among the sea of Aussie supporters will be a crew of 1,800 whose allegiance will be known by the colour of their jersey - blue. Or will it?

According to one of the founder members of the Swami Army -- a Barmy Army-inspired, Cricket Australia-recognised fan group of Indian supporters Down Under whose membership now totals over 2,000 -- many impostors will try to break into the spots reserved for the fans of Dhoni & Co.

"We've heard about Pakistanis and Sri Lankans in Australia, wearing India jerseys and coming in our designated areas, with the main aim to jeer every time things go India's way. Their teams are not that good, so they want to come and spoil our party," Sydney-based Baljit Singh Toki told HT.

They'll come in India's blue ODI jerseys from varying eras. Their shades may be slightly different, but their aspirations the same. Or are they?

An Indian fan in a blue jersey cheering the fall of Sachin Tendulkar's wicket could very well be one of the impostors.

A white Australian crying at the fall of Tendulkar's wicket could also be a member of the Swami Army.

"We now even got a few Aussie on board the Swami Army," said Toki.

Michael S is one such Australian who switched his allegiance following the 2007-08 series. "He was a great fan of the Australian team from the days of Allan Border, through Mark Taylor's reign, right up to Steve Waugh's tenure," said Toki. "Then Ricky Ponting was appointed skipper, slowly he began disapproving of their methods of victory. After the Monkeygate Test (in Sydney) he'd had enough. Now, this time he will be cheering for the Swami Army."