Birmingham: Walking into the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Tuesday to see the national flag of Spain came as quite a surprise. After all, it was a game of cricket between India and Bangladesh and the first thing that comes to mind when sports fans think of Spain is football.
But this was special. An M.S. Dhoni fan had come all the way from the Canary Islands in Spain with his family just to watch their favourite cricketer live in action.
Speaking to IANS, Rajesh Raisinghani said they had booked ticket back in October last year so that they could travel to England to watch the Indian team and their favourite Dhoni from the stands.
"We do follow cricket, but as you know, football is the most popular sport back in our country. But my wife Sharlu and son just love Dhoni and it was a dream for us to come to the stadium to catch a glimpse of our favourite cricketer. We haven't had the opportunity to meet him personally, but who knows? Maybe soon," he smiled.
His wife Sharlu added that they are even carrying a gift for Dhoni's daughter Ziva. Interestingly she said that her son is often laughed at back home for following a sport that is played over quite a long period of time unlike football, but that hasn't stopped him from showcasing his love for the gentleman's game.
"He was born in Spain, but trust me, he loves his cricket. In fact, his friends often pull his leg and tease him for following a game that is so long and not one of the more popular games in the country, but that doesn't deter him as we love Dhoni," she smiled.
Even though they are yet to meet Dhoni personally, to watch him so closely has made it worth the effort to travel from Spain's Canary Islands, off West Africa. "We have travelled almost 3,860 km to watch Dhoni live and trust me, it has been worth the effort. You only live once, so got to do things you love," she added.
India not only defeated Bangladesh by 28 runs on Tuesday, but also qualified for the semifinals of the ongoing World Cup. With 13 points from eight games, India are sitting pretty at the second spot and will next face Sri Lanka in their last group stage game on Saturday in Leeds.
-By Baidurjo Bhose