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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014
A happy hunting ground for young fans
Debjeet Kundu, Hindustan Times
Jaipur, May 24, 2012
First Published: 01:05 IST(24/5/2012)
Last Updated: 01:07 IST(24/5/2012)

"Excuse me, can you tell me when Virat Kohli will come out of his room?" The question sounded fine, but it was directed at Delhi Daredevils' mentor, TA Sekar.

Welcome to the world of IPL's photograph and autograph-seekers! Although they are found everywhere, cricket is the last thing on their minds.

"Sorry, I'm not a part of that team," Sekar politely tells the girl who posed the question at the hotel lobby.

"Oh, it's ok," shrugs the teenager, not too impressed that she didn't get the information.

Facebook generation
There is nothing new in fans jostling to catch a glimpse of their cricketing heroes in India, but it is rare to spot the stars, who give public places a wide berth to avoid getting mobbed. But young fans are a persistent lot, and see IPL as their best chance to get clicked.

One way to grab attention is to turn up at IPL charity events wearing team jerseys; basically, something that makes the person stands out in the crowd.

But, in days when even Shah Rukh Khan has problems with security guards, these fans somehow manage to slip in and get close to the players. So, what do they do with those photographs? "Do they hang them on wall?" asked an official, who seemed oblivious to the fact that there are more popular spots like Facebook.

Strangers, heroes
The youngsters have little idea about former players, which means they can leave the real fans red in their faces. Robert Walter does sweat it out as much as the Daredevils players, but the team's South African trainer was bemused after being approached for an autograph at the Kotla.

"Do you know who I am?" he enquired, but still put the dumbfounded fan at ease with a good laugh.

Not all fans give up. "Well, I'm not a player," declared Mumbai Indians trainer, Matt Dwyer, trying to extricate himself from a bunch in Jaipur.

But that didn't seem to curb the enthusiasm of the 'fans', for whom a foreigner in a blue jersey seemed a good enough catch!


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