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Stars make a beeline for South Africa

All roads lead to South Africa. Indians cricket fans are heading for South Africa in droves.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2003 02:53 IST

All roads lead to South Africa. Indians cricket fans are heading for South Africa in droves.

Almost 10,500 Indian fans flew to the rainbow nation for the first leg of the World Cup and they were joined by an additional 2000 for the big game against Pakistan. Now on India’s last lap of this marathon, another 5000 are expected to zip across.

United Breweries Lifetime chairman Vijay Mallya is going across for the third time since the tournament began. In Tirupati for a darshan, he told Hindustan Times, "I went for the Australia game but it was a miserable failure. Then I went again for the England and Pakistan games. I am going again in any case, there is plenty of space in my Boeing 727, so my friends are all welcome." His Boeing 727 will fly from Bangalore non-stop to Durban. This time, Mallya is flying with Farooq Abdullah, Nafisa Ali, Ritu Beri, Parmeshwar Godrej, Rajiv Shukla and Deven Narang. Like every other Indian cricket junkie, Mallya hopes to celebrate big time after the Indian side lifts the Cup.

The Sahara Pariwar head Subroto Roy is also headed for South Africa, but unlike Mallya and his entourage who leave on Monday, he plans to go only for the final. The famous triple A club members --- Anil Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan and Amar Singh --- and their families will accompany him on his Boeing 737-400.

Bollywood will also be out in full force. Priety Zinta, Bipasha Basu, Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon, Aamir Khan, Arjun Rampal, Priyanka Chopra, Manisha Koirala and Sunil Shetty are all part of this entourage. Subroto Roy's Sahara, the official sponsor of the Indian team, is planning to bring the Indian side back with it on the same plane. In fact, a huge post-match celebration has been planned in Sun City if India win the final.

Ankur Bhatia, CEO, Amadeus India, said, "Around 4,000 to 6,000 fans will travel from India to South Africa over the next week to cheer Sourav Ganguly and his men on their journey to the Cup."

First Published: Mar 14, 2003 02:53 IST