When India journey to the Caribbean next March in a bid to win the World Cup for the first time in a quarter-century, they certainly won't be lacking for support. The Desimators, a fan club based in India, have tied up with the rather better known Bharat Army to set up a Caribbean Resource and Information Centre that will help fans journeying across the world to support India. The two groups made the announcement at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning.
The Bharat Army is now supposedly 62,000 strong, and made their debut at the World Cup in 2003. Established by Shailan Tank, Sukhwinder Nijjar, Harvinder Mann and Rakesh Patel, the army have been a regular presence at India matches since. The Desimators, who claim a membership of 2,000, came into being in September 2003 as a platform for fans to watch and support Indian sport. In addition to cricket tours of Australia and Pakistan, they have also been to Malaysia before for the F-1 race at Sepang. They were also involved with the organisation of the Bradman Cup, India's first Twenty20 tournament.
Satish Viswanathan, formerly a cricket correspondent for Deccan Herald and also Rahul Dravid's captain when in school, is now involved with the Desimators, continuing the recent trend of tour groups tying up with former players or journalists. The ill-fated Sri Lankan tour had seen the Sachin Army from Mumbai, accompanied by Dwarkanath Sanzgiri, a noted Marathi journalist.
With the Barmy Army and Australia's Fanatics so well established, it was inevitable that India's supporters would follow suit. And given how 10,000 of them silenced Bay 13 on an unforgettable Boxing Day in 2003 - Virender Sehwag slammed 195 in five hours - it won't be long before the likes of the Bharat Army and the Desimators eclipse the opposition, at least in the cacophony stakes.
Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo