Australia in South Africa 2011-12 November 16, 2011

An Aussie fan with a difference

Ian Reid is not your typical Australian cricket fan. For one thing, he's not Australian. In fact, he has never visited the country

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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