September 22, 2007

S Rajesh and Andrew McGlashan at the 2007 ICC World Twenty20

India at home in Durban

S Rajesh
Australian supporters were hard to find in a sea of Indian fans, Durban, September 22, 2007
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In what seemed like a uniform sea of Indian supporters, Brian and his family were a brave lot. Wearing a Qantas T-shirt and carrying a huge Australian flag, there was no question about which team they were here to support. Was it daunting to be holding an Aussie flag when it was obvious they were so heavily outnumbered?

“It doesn’t really matter to us,” says Brian. “We [the Aussie supporters] might be just 1% of the total crowd today, but we’ll be the 1% who will be happy after the match.” Brian is from Durban, but has family in Australia, which is why he supports Australia whenever his home team isn’t playing.

Brian isn’t bothered by the fact Australia aren’t a popular team in this country. “People reckon they are arrogant, but the way they play, they have every right to be. This Indian team is pretty arrogant too,” he counters.

He is worried, though, about the prospect of Yuvraj Singh returning for the game. “Is he playing here?” Brian asks. When I tell him he probably is, Brian raises an eyebrow that seems to suggest ‘That could spell bad news for the Australians’. As it turns out, he was right in being worried about Yuvraj, and wrong about the 1% bit. unless, of course, he was so taken in by India’s performance that he switched allegiance during the game.

***

“We might have sold about a couple of Australian flags, and about 30 Indian ones,” reckons Naidoo, who works at Sports Shoppe, the small shop that sells souvenirs. The figures are equally skewed in another stall as well – ‘seven or eight Aussie flags, about 40 Indian ones’. As the Indians start pounding the boundaries, all those flags are put to good use; there are so many of them, India might well have been playing at home.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S Rajesh
Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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