15 March 2015
#cwc15 – The Superfans!
From Larry the Leprechaun to Carl the Kangaroo - the ICC CWC superfans come in every shape, size and colour
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 10: Indian and Irish fans show their support during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup match between Ireland and India at Seddon Park on March 10, 2015 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Every country has the fans who go that extra mile – or flies tens of thousands of them – to support the players and team they love.
They are the ones who arrive early, are clad head to toe in team colours, cheer the loudest, and make a cricket crowd all that much better.
Here are some of the super fans lighting up CWC15:
Larry the Leprechaun aka Adrian Raftery, Melbourne
Anyone who has watched an Ireland game this World Cup will recognise Ireland’s No.1 fan.
Easily spotted in his Leprechaun costume, usually with “Little Larry” (his two-year-old son Hamish) in tow, Raftery has been dedicated to the Ireland cricket team since the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
While he grew up in Australia, Raftery’s Irish heritage has ensured the country is close to his heart.
“I’m Irish-Australian, my parents came out here in the 1970s as skilled migrants,” he said.
After discovering a former school mate, Jeremy Bray, was playing for the Ireland team in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Raftery made the trip over to the West Indies to support the team.
“They shocked everyone with how well they played, considering it was their first time.”
The tyranny of distance prevents Raftery from attending every Ireland game, but he has been a fixture at every one of the team’s matches this World Cup.
“It’s absolutely awesome to watch the guys play and see how much they have improved over the years,” he said.
“They’ve got a much stronger batting line-up than we did in 2007 and they have demonstrated they deserve to be on the world stage.
“I’m pretty stoked at how they’ve gone so far this tournament, by default they are the best team in Europe, which is a big honour.”
Raftery said he was enjoying the amount of support the Ireland team was receiving around Australia and New Zealand, from both Irish and neutral fans alike.
“As my dad says, there are three types of people in this world. Irish, people who want to be Irish, and people with no ambition.”
Carl Teusner, Gawler
Supporting: Australia (and cricket in general)
When a distinctive looking Kangaroo costume started appearing at matches around Australia, people started to wonder if there had been a rush on roo suit sales around the country, or whether it might possibly be the same dedicated cricket fan.
Turns out, the man behind the Kangaroo costume is Gawler’s Carl Teusner, who has already attended on nine matches across Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Auckland and Nelson, and plans to head to Hobart on Saturday for Australia’s final pool match against Scotland, before hitting the finals.
“I decided to go on this tour because it's been a dream of mine to go to a World Cup since it was in the Caribbean,” Teusner said.
Teusner said he never imagined he would attract so much attention at matches.
“After the official World Cup Twitter dubbed me the #travellingroo, I thought, ‘I can’t stop now’.
“I'm a die-hard Aussie supporter and that's why I always wear my Aussie shirt no matter what game it is, and then I either choose the group I think will bring the most fun like the Irish or support a team I never get to see like Scotland.
“I think the minnows are a fantastic part of the World Cup. They add so much character, they provide so many stories.”
Teusner has had encounters with Brett lee, Michael Slater and Mark Waugh and said he had enjoyed meeting superfans from other nations as well, including Ireland’s Larry the Leprechaun. He has also started signing autographs for children at matches.
“Excuse the pun but I was caught on the hop with this and had no idea what a signature for the roo looked like. I had to quickly make up a signature for #travellingroo. This somehow snowballed and before I knew it I'd signed dozens of cricket bats and school hats.”
Sudesh Piyatissa, Melbourne
Supporting: Sri Lanka
In the lead-up to the World Cup, Sudesh Piyatissa was trying to think of the perfect way to support Sri Lanka during its Australian matches.
Then he came up with the perfect idea – bright orange Lion onesies.
Now, Piyatissa is not the only one getting around to Sri Lanka matches in the eye-catching costumes; he had sold more than 100 to fellow fans through his website prideoflanka.com.au, ensuring there are plenty to be seen each time Sri Lanka plays.
“I thought it would be a cool, unique way of supporting our guys on the ground and create pride as well,” he said.
“Hopefully the cameras catch pockets of lions watching the team.”
Piyatissa is donating the money made from the sale of the onesies to a Sri Lankan charity supported by Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
He never expected the onesies to receive so much attention, but after creating a Youtube video featuring the Sri Lankan players' names in the Lion King song and after a photo of Sangakkara and Jayawardene with a costumed Piyatissa was shared on social media, the onesies took off.
“The orders have mostly come from New South Wales and Melbourne but lots of people out there are ordering them, from New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and the United Kingdom.”
And some well-known superfans you may have spotted throughout the tournament:
Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary (also known as Sudhir Gautam) India
Perhaps cricket’s best known superfan, Sudhir has dedicated his life to the Indian cricket team and Sachin Tendulkar. The iconic supporter, known for spending hours painting himself in the national colours before every India game, has been following the team for more than a decade.
Known throughout his country, he has attended every home match since 2003 and collects funds to attend overseas tours when possible.
He often cycles to matches in India and has even ridden as far as Bangladesh and Pakistan.
After the 2011 World Cup final, Sudhir was invited into the India dressing room by Tendulkar to celebrate with the team. He even carries a special letter from Tendulkar, requesting special treatment for his visa applications because of status as a national icon.
Mohammad Bashir, Chicago
Supporting: Pakistan and MS Dhoni
Given the traditionally strong rivalry between India and Pakistan, the sight of Bashir clad in bright green while also wearing a hat made from images of India captain MS Dhoni has intrigued people around the world.
Bashir can be found cheering for Pakistan almost everywhere it plays, having replaced ‘Chacha Cricket’ as the Pakistan team mascot. But for the 2015 World Cup, he is splitting his allegiances and is also supporting India captain MS Dhoni.
He said Dhoni had helped him find a ticket for the final of the 2014 World Twenty20.
“He is a gem of a person. I have come to make sure he wins the World Cup,” Bashir, who was born in Pakistan but now lives in Chicago with his Indian wife, told Gulf News.
Gayan Senanayaka, Sri Lanka
Supporting: Sri Lanka
The superfan of the Sri Lanka cricket team, Gayan has attending more than 200 games at home and abroad. His cricket fanaticism began when 17-year-old Gayan watched Sri Lanka secure the 1996 World Cup.
A master cricket cheerleader, has gained recognition for his chanting prowess and leads the Sri Lanka fans at matches.
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