November 16, 2011

Australia in South Africa 2011-12

An Aussie fan with a difference

Brydon Coverdale
Ian Reid, Cape Town, November 16, 2011
Ian Reid has never visited Australia  © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Ian Reid is not your typical Australian cricket fan. For one thing, he's not Australian. In fact, he has never visited the country.

But at Australia's nets sessions at Newlands at the weekend, he was one of the few people who turned up to watch the team train. To watch them rebuild after their all-out-for-47 debacle.

He's as passionate in his support of Australia's side as just about anyone around the world. A South African who grew up in Cape Town, Reid, 25, has been enamoured with Australian cricket since the Steve Waugh era.

"I just thought Steve Waugh's die-hard attitude was a huge inspiration," he says. "I love that aggressive brand of cricket we used to play - no fear."

In his distinctly Capetonian accent, Reid uses the word "we" without hesitation. This is his team. Ricky Ponting from Launceston, Mitchell Johnson from Townsville. Ian Reid from Cape Town.

"My world was cricket, growing up," he says. "I just found a natural pride and inspiration following Australian cricket. I liked the players a lot. I find it similar to music. I've always felt that you don't pick an instrument, the instrument picks you. I've felt the same with the sport team that I follow. It picked me. It was the team that inspired me."

During the day, Reid works in marketing and sales. During his spare time, he writes for a supporters' blog that he started during the 2008-09 series against India, when public opinion was turning against the Australians. Through the blog, he has discovered he is not alone.

"I've met people in India who love the baggy greens, surprisingly even people in England who like them," he says. "There are quite a few people in South Africa who are fanatical about either New Zealand, which you find a lot, or Australia."

He's even a fan of South Australia in the domestic competitions and tries to find live streaming of Redbacks' matches online whenever he can. As for live cricket, he has been to nine Australia games, all in South Africa, and was in the crowd as the batsmen capitulated last Thursday. All the same, he does not see all doom and gloom.

"You have to put it down as just a freak cricket match," he says. "It was a very weird game. Seeing it live, it didn't really affect all of us as badly, although when Hussey dropped that catch off the last ball of the day, then it sank in. Then you felt it.

"But with the new selection panel, which I think will be a bit more on the pulse of Australian cricket, I'm a bit more positive. I know we've got the talent, I know we've got the stocks. Hopefully more consistent policies will bring about the change."

And maybe one day he'll get to Australia to see it.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by monster steam mop on (January 2, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

Are you serious? I am not so sure about the legitimacy of your facts. Seems kinda bogus.

Posted by Ron Tamlin on (December 21, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

Are there any fans that support SA vehemently but do not live in Soiuth Africa?

Posted by Ishan Ghosh on (December 11, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

Whaddya know! We're the same ilk mate! Indian - never been to Australia...but a big fan to the Baggy Greens...been backing them since 1995-96 (thats when I really started watching cricket), and particularly enjoyed watching Gilly, Pidge, Warney, Binga and Punter at full tilt. I was almost killed when I cheered for Punter when he was butchering the Indian bowling in the 2003 WC final. (I'm also a fan of the Italian Football team and AC Milan..but I suppose thats because I've lived there). Great to hear about it..would try to follow your blog!

Posted by ramanujam sridhar on (December 7, 2011, 7:55 GMT)

Very interesting read. He has the courage to follow his heart and not worry unduly about what the rest of the world thinks. Looking at the letter, it does seem that he is not alone. I watched the Australians first in Madras and that was Richie Benaud'"s team in 59. I have watched Australia win the world cup in England in 99, been to South africa for the 2003 world cup and the west Indies in 2007. Autralia have won all three. I have never been to Australia but have followed the team and its success for long. In an ideal world, why should anyone support his country only ? Sports fans should not have boundaries, or so I feel. I will watch the Indian tour of Australia with great interest. Our team has great players while Australia is in transition and started to win again. A fascinating contest on offer. Reid what is your prediction? sridhar

Posted by vini on (December 6, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

I am an indian,but i support aussies thats just becoz the way they play,be it cricket or hockey.They also have a great sporting culture.I still remember in one of the world cup football match they gave a very hard time for the italians,so instead of cribbing we(indians) should work hard to stay on top in any sport be it cricket or hockey or football.ALL THE BEST FOR BOTH THE TEAMS FOR THE TOUR DOWN UNDER.

Posted by shani on (November 25, 2011, 5:08 GMT)

he is just replica of me...

Posted by ed on (November 24, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

oh yes, well done on Letters and Numbers Brydon. enjoyed ur efforts. L and N - another great 'head game'.

Posted by ed on (November 24, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

interesting. i find i cannot support a country/team. cricket is my passion no matter who is playing or where. cricket is a game of strategy and talent against the conditions and other teams. love it.

Posted by Shruthi Sridhar on (November 18, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

I think Ian is a fantastic blogger and very passionate about Australian Cricket. I think it is not wrong to support a team which is not your country's; after all it is one's own opinion and we have to respect that. I am from India, although I am not as big a fan of Australian Cricket as Ian is, I like Australian Cricket and have always liked Ian's work in his blog. Nice to hear of a fan like him.

Posted by Umer Khan on (November 18, 2011, 12:38 GMT)

me too a huge aussie fan....they r building up nicely.i can see a streak in clarke that makes him a cool captain and the one who can lead them to redemption.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brydon Coverdale
Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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