India’s cricket bosses yesterday led nationwide tributes following the death of the country’s wheelchair-bound “superfan” Charulata Patel at the age of 87.
The grandmother shot to attention after being spotted in the crowd watching India play Bangladesh at last year’s World Cup in England, enthusiastically blowing a vuvuzela and with the Indian tricolor painted on her cheeks.
After the match — which India won — captain Virat Kohli and vice captain Rohit Sharma sought out Patel and asked for her blessings for the rest of their campaign.
She was later featured in a Pepsi promotion cheering on the India team for the tournament.
Kohli said that she was “one of the most passionate and dedicated fans I’ve ever seen.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) paid tribute on Twitter after Patel’s family announced her death.
“#TeamIndia’s Superfan Charulata Patel-ji will always remain in our hearts,” the board wrote.
The family wrote on Patel’s official Instagram account that she had died on Monday.
They thanked Kohli for making her a social media sensation, saying that “she loved the attention.”
Meeting Kohli and Sharma had been “the best day of her life,” they said. “She told us this on multiple occasions.”
ENGLAND VS SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa yesterday grasped the initiative by dismissing both England opening batsmen between lunch and tea on the first day of the third Test at St George’s Park.
England were 117-2 at tea after captain Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat on a placid pitch on a hot, sunny day.
Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley gave England a solid start, reaching lunch at 61 for no wicket.
However, South Africa came back strong, dismissing both opening batsmen and keeping a tight rein on the scoring rate after lunch.
Kagiso Rabada had Sibley caught at backward square-leg for 36 and Anrich Nortje had Crawley caught in the same position for 44.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj conceded only 22 runs in 19 unbroken overs from the ground’s northern end, enabling South African captain Faf du Plessis to rotate his four fast bowlers from the southern end.
With the four-match series tied at 1-1, batting first appeared to be a considerable advantage on a pitch that had a covering of grass, but offered no help to the bowlers.
It was the sixth successive Test toss lost by Du Plessis.
South Africa picked new cap Dane Paterson as a specialist fast bowler in place of all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius.
“He’s a skiddy bowler who hits the top of the stumps,” said Du Plessis, who surprisingly decided that Paterson would share the new ball with Philander, with the quicker Rabada and Nortje having to wait for their turn.
England brought back fast bowler Mark Wood in place of the injured James Anderson.
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