Cricket-mad British Asians have revealed the “sacrifices” they have made to travel to Australia for the World Cup, which began last weekend.
Fans told Eastern Eye that they have saved thousands of pounds, while others have even quit their jobs to stay Down Under for the seven-week tournament.
Around 200 members of the Bharat Army have made the journey from the UK to cheer on India.
They are set to travel to Melbourne for the clash with South Africa on Sunday (22) before going to Perth for the game against the United Arab Emirates the following weekend.
Akshay Loomba, one of the members of the Bharat Army, told EE: “The trip is roughly going to cost me about £8,000 as I am there for the full two months.
“I have had to leave my job to get the time off to go for two months and obviously have been saving for many months – hopefully it is all worth it.”
He added: “Bharat Army have members all over the world, but we are especially popular in England.”
Loomba will be hoping MS Dhoni’s side last the distance and reach the final on March 29 in Melbourne.
The group, who formed in 1999, held a party with Pakistan fans at the Bombay Bicycle Club in Adelaide before the epic game between the two sides last Sunday (15).
Members of the Stani Army, who follow Pakistan, were also at the event.
The group are famous for its members dressing up as characters including a king, a sheikh and the dictator from the Sacha Baron Cohen-comedy.
Tabrez Janjua, co-founder of the group, told EE: “The trip to the World Cup including internal flights, accommodation, tickets and food will end up costing approximately £3,000.
“I’ve broken the bank, scraped my savings together, and begged and borrowed for this once-in-a lifetime trip. I think being away from the family will be the hardest part.”
Janjua and the Pakistan fans will travel to Christchurch in New Zealand for Saturday’s (21) game with the West Indies before crossing over to Brisbane for the Zimbabwe match the following weekend.
Amjad Hussain, nicknamed Mr Pakistan, said he had a huge slice of good fortune before the trip.
“I had been putting money away for some time as I was aware from previous trips that it could cost around £4,000,” he said.
“Fortunately I won a competition, MoneyGram’s Ultimate Cricket Fan, which included flights, match tickets and accommodation as a prize.
“I’ve had to put in extra hours at work and keep an eye on the day-to-day spending very early on.
“Fortunately, because of my prize, I will now be able to use the savings on sightseeing and other things.”