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Dedicated fan unbeaten on 150 Tests

 

Brydon Coverdale
Brydon Coverdale
25-Feb-2013

Prolific spectator: Luke Gillian © Cricinfo Ltd
 
While Michael Clarke was on the way to his highest Test score, another milestone was being celebrated on the grassy hill at the Basin Reserve. Australia’s most dedicated fan was watching his 150th Test match. Not a bad effort for a man who hasn’t even hit his 40th birthday.
In his colourful shirts, replica baggy green and with his Australian flag in hand, Luke Gillian has become a fixture of Australian tours all over the world. So much so that when he celebrated his 100th Test, in Auckland five years ago, he became the first non-team member to sing "Under the Southern Cross" with the players in the rooms after a win, when Justin Langer invited him to join them.
“My first time in the dressing room was in Karachi ’98,” Gillian told Cricinfo at the Basin Reserve. “I was there when the boys were lining up to sing the team song and I thought ‘You beauty, fantastic.’ But then Ian Healy came around and said ‘Out! Team only!’ So I listened to the team song through the window and 69 Test matches later I was in there.”
The first Test he ever attended was the Centenary Test, when he was six years old, and his first overseas Test was in Barbados in 1995. Although he admits that following the team all over the world is getting “a bit weary”, he rests up between tours by working as a chef in London.
Gillian is a staunch Australian fan and loves to be on hand to support his boys, but what he’s most interested in is seeing terrific Test cricket. To that end, his favourite series was one that Australia didn’t even win: the 2-1 loss in India in 2000-01.
“It was fantastic Test cricket from the shellacking that we handed out to India in three days in Mumbai to that classic match in Kolkata that pretty much goes down in cricket folklore,” he said. “Fifty years from now, people will still be going ‘Did that really happen? Did they follow on and score 657 and then roll us out?’ And then to go on to Chennai, which was my 50th Test, and to have it go down to day five and that last session.”
The numbers roll off his tongue with certainty, perhaps because he carries with him a diary in which he records scores and statistics from all the games he has attended. His current book dates back to the home series against Sri Lanka in 2007-08 and he has at least 10 diaries at home, although he was devastated to lose the book that had his scores from the 2003 World Cup. There are sure to be plenty more to come.

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