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India's cricket 'super fan' granny dies aged 87

AFPBy AFP
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India’s cricket bosses led nationwide tributes Thursday 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 tricolour painted on her cheeks.

After the match — which India won — captain Virat Kohli and deputy captain Rohit Sharma sought out Patel and asked for her blessings for the rest of their campaign.

She later featured in a Pepsi advert cheering on the Indian team for the tournament.

Kohli said that she was “one of the most passionate and dedicated fans I’ve ever seen”.

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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 and her passion for the game will keep motivating us. May her soul rest in peace,” said the BCCI.

The family said on Patel’s official Instagram account, cricket.daadi (grandmother), that she died on Monday.

They thanked Kohli for making her a social media sensation last year, saying “she loved the attention.”

Meeting Kohli and Sharma had been “the best day of her life,” they added. “She told us this on multiple occasions.”