UAE, Jul 08, 2019 : A group of nine cricket-crazy Indian expats from the UAE is in the UK to cheer for team India in the ongoing World Cup matches, Khaleej Times reported.
The Malayali expats, who grew up on an "addictive dose of cricket", said they saved up for months because "it is a dream come true" to cheer from the grounds for their team.
"It was not an easy feat, considering the ticket prices during summer and also the difficulty in getting all of our annual leaves sanctioned. But we were willing to go to any lengths to get here and we made it," Prabhiraj, who works for a media production company in Dubai, told Khaleej Times.
The average cost per person for the entire trip is Dh14,000, which means they will be coughing up around Dh126,000 in total.
"I turned into a cricket addict after India’s world cup win in 1983. I still remember the euphoria among the fans at that time. I am here, hoping that our men in blue will create history again."
The men took off for London on June 26 and plan to stay in the UK "till the men in blue bring the trophy home". "The cost factor was a big concern for us. But we did not want to give up on our dream. I do not have much annual leaves left, but as they say, if there is a will, there is a way," said Shiju Babu, who works at a private firm in Dubai.
"The India vs. West Indies in Manchester was our first match. We walked in to the gallery wearing the team jersey and waving a 30-feet Indian flag, chanting slogans and singing patriotic songs.
Watching the Australia-New Zealand match at the Lord’s has been the most memorable for the group. "It was a life-time experience to watch a nail-biting match at Lords." said Santhosh Kumar. And the most disappointment was India’s loss to England in Birmingham.
They said getting tickets for some matches is a challenge and they are trying everything to be inside the stadium. "We had pre-booked tickets only for the first two matches. We are approaching some Malayali organisations here and also counting on last-minute cancellations for entry," said Kumar.