Cricket is more than just a game for many in India and fans are willing to go to great lengths to cheer and make their presence felt in support for their beloved team. However, this Indian family based in Singapore beats everything that you may have heard of in this cricket-crazy nation. The family of six, based in Singapore, travelled all the way to London by road to watch the Men In Blue play their semi-final game against New Zealand. The family drove a staggering 22,000 km, covering 17 countries in two continents to reach England. The extraordinary journey took them 48 days to complete.
The family of Anupam Mathur originally hails from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Anupam’s family includes his elderly parents, wife and two kids. He said that they started their journey on May 20 in their seven-seater people carrier from Singapore and reached London 48 days later last Thursday.
"Back in March, we knew the World Cup was coming and we thought we must be there to support India. The easiest way to do it would be to fly, but then we thought, no, let’s do something special for the country, let’s include everyone," Anupam, a father-of-two including three-year-old daughter Avya, told BBC Sport.
The itinerary to reach United Kingdom went this way — Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and England. The family is also planning to visit Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland before embarking on the return journey.
On Saturday, Mathur’s family watched India’s game against Sri Lanka at Headingley on Saturday. But the greatest challenge of their trip was yet to be resolved. The family had not booked their tickets for the semi-final game against New Zealand at Old Trafford. However, when the International Cricket Council (ICC) came to know about Anupam’s family, they called him and provided him with four tickets of the semi-final clash.
"For the India NZ Semi Final today, after driving 23,000 kms, until yesterday, we were left stranded without tickets! Incredible things happen sometimes! Earlier this morning, I got a call from ICC. They probably read the BBC article and were super kind to grant us hospitality passes for the semi final match – for all 4 of us! The most incredible gift ever. Thank you ICC and BBC for being so kind. Made our day, week, year, decade! All on Aviv's 7th birthday!" he said in a Facebook post.
Anupam, an IIM-Ahmedabad alumni, said that while taking a flight would be the easy way out, he wanted to ride the whole way with everyone including his father Akhilesh, mother Anjana, 34-year-old wife Aditi, six-year-old son Aviv and three-year-old daughter. According to his family blog, when Anupam’s family reached the Euro tunnel on the last day of their journey, their car was parked into a train to allow them to cross the English channel.
Mathur’s Linkedin profile says that he is a financial services professional employed with UBS since 2010 and has served in various capacities. He has previously served at The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company.