The Indian team secured a position on the Cricket World Cup semi-final list last night, but it was an 87-year-old fan, Charulata Patel, who stole the limelight. She took the internet by storm as videos of her cheering the men in blue during their match against Bangladesh on Tuesday, went viral.
Age is just a number
She came on a wheel chair and waved the Indian flag proudly. Throughout the game, the television cameras kept panning to the 87-year-old fan as she was seen enthusiastically cheering on the Indian team and even blowing a colourful plastic trumpet. Her enthusiasm was even noticed by commentator and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.
She told Asian News International (ANI): “When Kapil paaji (Kapil Dev) won the World Cup in 1983, I was there as well. Whenever Indian cricketers come over (to England) to play, I pray for them.... I have full faith that India will win. I bless the players, I hope they take care, do well and give us a chance to win.”
Many tweeps applauded Charulata Patel’s energy considering her age. Tweep @kollyempire posted: “A picture that will be remembered for years and will explain why cricket is so close to our hearts. 87-year-old Charulata madam is the talk of the world with her enthusiasm. Her blessings are going to take us till the glory. FAN OF THE TOURNAMENT!”
Cricket, a religion
Cricket is more than just a sport in India, to some it’s a ‘religion’. You don’t have to be a sports fan in India to be drawn into the cricket frenzy. The World Cup then is another ball game altogether. It transcends all boundaries of young and old or rich and poor. It unites the nation in one spirit as families and even communities, gather around screens to watch the team play. Winning is often a nationwide emotion. Tweep @NakulSKumar2 posted: “... cricket is a religion for us #Indians, 87-year-old fan cheers for #TeamIndia.”
Meeting the team
As the Indian players left the field after the win against Bangladesh on Tuesday, captain Virat Kohli and man-of-the-match Rohit Sharma headed straight to Charulata Patel.
@politicianJyoti shared pictures and wrote: “87-year-old Indian fan Charulata Patel after win over Bangladesh in a heart-warming gesture, Indian captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma met super fan Charulata Patel after the team’s win over Bangladesh at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.”
Following the game, Indian captain Virat Kohli acknowledged the 87-year-old fan on social media.
“Also would like to thank all our fans for all the love and support and especially Charulata Patel ji. She’s 87 and probably one of the most passionate and dedicated fans I’ve ever seen. Age is just a number, passion takes you leaps & bounds. With her blessings, on to the next one,” he posted.