Tiger on the prowl | Sunday Observer

Tiger on the prowl

Soyaib Ali
Soyaib Ali

DHAKA (AFP) Desperate times call for desperate measures and colourful cricket super-fan Shoyab Ali has had to deploy a full arsenal as he follows his beloved Bangladesh around the globe.

The 31-year-old Dhaka car mechanic, known at grounds worldwide for his distinctive tiger body and face paint, has injured himself, paid a bribe and spent his life savings to pursue his passion for the game.

Bangladesh defeated India by five wickets in Dhaka even though Sachin Tendulkar ended his long wait for his 100th international century in the Asia Cup game.

“After Bangladesh won, I cried in the stand for a long time. I saw the famous Indian fan Sudhir Gautam,” he said, referring to the India superfan who also dons body paint in national colours and has been seen around the world.

“I decided I will be like him and watch every game Bangladesh plays,” Ali said. Since then Ali, who left school at 13, has missed just one home game and not many abroad. It has brought an innings of adventures. In his first match abroad in 2013, Ali sawBangladesh avoid defeat for the first time in a Test in Sri Lanka when they claimed a creditable draw. Before that match, Bangladesh had lost eight Tests in Sri Lanka -- seven by an innings margin.

He arrived in Sri Lanka with just $250 in his pocket and spent several nights sleeping in the garage of a Sri Lankan fan. Bangladesh players and officials gave him money for food throughout the tour.