MS Dhoni-fan Ram Babu and Virat Kohli-admirer Dharamveer Pal make their presence felt at cricket grounds all over India, waving the Indian tri-colour from the stands. Both of them have witnessed around 300 games including a few Indian Premier League matches.
Ram Babu, a die-hard MS Dhoni, fan at the Wankhede Stadium. Pic/Suresh Karkera
It's certainly a big number considering they come from humble backgrounds. Every journey to each venue has been a struggle. Even the journey to Mumbai for yesterday's ICC World T20 semi-final clash between India and West Indies was not a pleasant one.
Not ordinary fans
After enjoying India's six-wicket victory over Australia in Mohali on Monday, Ram Babu and Dharamveer reached Mumbai by train on Tuesday afternoon. They immediately headed to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) office at Wankhede Stadium for their accreditation and other arrangements.
Dharamveer got his accreditation at around 9 pm on Tuesday, but Ram Babu had to wait until Dhoni got him a complimentary ticket of the Sachin Tendulkar stand. However, the big question for them was where to spend the night. Both requested some MCA officials for accommodation, but nothing materialised.
Finally, at 10pm, they got a message that their accommodation has been taken care of — a small space at the MCA office security counter. "We spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the MCA building. On both days, we only slept after midnight as mosquitoes troubled us," Ram Babu told mid-day.
Dharamveer said it's the same story at all venues except Kolkata.
"We have had to face these type of situations everywhere, but whenever there is a match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Dada (Sourav Ganguly) always make us feel at home.
He takes personal interest in our wellbeing. He always instructs Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) officials to get us accommodation in a good hotel," said Dharamveer.
Dharamveer (23) has been following the Indian team since 2004. Though he hails from Madhya Pradesh, he has set up a cricket museum called 'Cricket Gallery' in Delhi with the help of his friends.
Thirty-year-old cricket fanatic, Ram Babu, who ran away from his marriage five years ago out of passion for the game, finally got married three years ago and now drives an autorickshaw in Mohali.