Bharat Army (cricket fans)

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Anirban Halder, June 12, 2019: The Times of India

O’cean one8 Energy Drink energises Bharat Army - India’s global cricket crazy fans for nearly two decades

Given the ongoing Cricket World Cup, the craze for the gentleman’s game has reached new levels. But we, Indians, watch the game like our lives depend on it; no wonder Cricket is treated as a religion in India. Be it home or abroad, if Team Indian is playing a match anywhere in the world, there is a huge number of Indian supporters which always shows up. In fact, Australian skipper Aaron Finch noticed the huge support for India during the recent World Cup encounter, where the mighty Aussies lost to the Men in Blue at the Oval. Finch said, “India has amazing support everywhere they go everywhere around the world."

But ever wondered, how does India get such a huge number of fans to pour in and make any stadium feel like Wankhade or Eden Gardens, even though the team is playing thousands of miles away from home? Well, a majority of the credit goes to the Bharat Army - the Indian equivalent of the Barmy Army. Bharat Army boasts of almost 10,000 cricket crazy fans from 22 countries. Given the Cricket’s mahasangram happening in the UK, the Bharat Army has gathered in the region to cheer Team India as they continue to play glamorously in the ongoing Cricket World Cup.

While fans cheer the country’s name at the top of their voice in the stadium, the story of how the group was formed is equally interesting. It was back in 1999 when the World Cup was being played in the UK, four Indian fans kept running into each other at various matches. The camaraderie and friendship began and they decided to form a group of diehard cricket fans. And ever since Bharat Army has only grown in numbers.

One of the founders of the group, Rakesh Patel said that the Bharat Army has now grown from being just a UK-based supporters' group. He said that the group now has a global presence with regional heads and who help them grow to garner support from the UK, India, UAE, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

In fact, the group set up Bharat Army Travel in 2015. This was done because of the stupendous increasing demand of Indian cricket fans wanting to travel with them to major tournaments and series around the world.

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