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Pedalled across 14 countries for cricket & charity

When Mumbai Indians take on the Delhi Daredevils at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday, Oli Broom, a cricket fan who has pedaled down from Britain, will be cheering them on from the stands.

mumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2010 01:30 IST
Sudeshna Chowdhury

When Mumbai Indians take on the Delhi Daredevils at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday, Oli Broom, a cricket fan who has pedaled down from Britain, will be cheering them on from the stands.

The 29-year-old cricket enthusiast swapped his bat for a bicycle on October 10 last year and set out from the Lords to raise money for charity. After pedaling across three continents and 14 countries in six months, Broom is in Mumbai to soak in the Indian Premiere League mania. His 25,000-km journey will end in Australia with the Ashes series in November.

The cyclist has his “fingers crossed” as he hopes to meet batsman Sachin Tendulkar. “I have been invited to the post-match party on Tuesday, where I will try and raise funds for two British charities — the Lord Taverners (a charity organisation that helps disabled children play sports) and the British Neurological Research Trust.”

Having landed in Mumbai on April 7, Broom finds the city inhospitable to cyclists. “It doesn’t have enough space and is unkind to cyclists.” But drawn to the city’s inherent charm, he describes it as “exuberant and beautiful”.

During his weeklong stopover in India, he intends to play cricket with Mumbai’s street children and visit Goa and Chennai.

He quit his desk job, as “life was getting a bit stale” and took on the world tour.

He was impressed by the hospitality in Sudan. “Sudanese are fiercely proud of their culture. I was invited by a Muslim Sudanese family, which packed goodies for me though they had little money.”

Broom has been recording his journey on his blog. “In November while I was in Budapest, an enthusiastic filmmaker, Lazslo (Laci) Jozsa, decided to film me,” Broom wrote on his blog (http://cyclingtotheashes.wordpress.com).

He may pen a book too. “India will be a big part of it,” he said with a smile.