Expats in Jakarta Get Their Cricket Fix

The Jakarta Globe

Bhagi Anand has been following cricket most of her life, so there was no way she was going to miss Saturday’s showpiece event.

“I was introduced to cricket when I was a child, and I’m passionate about it,” she said.

However, for an Indian national like Bhagi, who has lived in Jakarta for five years, finding a place to watch cricket matches is never an easy task.

For Saturday’s World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka, she decided to watch the match at a bar in South Jakarta.

“I’ve been following the World Cup this year, and I didn’t want to miss the final,” she said.

“It would’ve been better if I could have gone to Mumbai to watch the game firsthand because it’s more fun.”

Indonesia has always been a football country, and cricket has traditionally struggled for attention, both from sports fans and the media.

This can make it tough for cricket fans here, particularly expatriates from cricket-loving countries such as India, England and Australia, who normally resort to the Internet or match broadcasts at bars or other public establishments for their sporting fix.

Mark Johnson, a British national who works for an oil and gas company in Indonesia, said big tournaments like the World Cup brought out the “nationalistic side” of every fan.

“Although England didn’t make it to the final, I still want to watch the final game,” he said. “It’s because when it comes to cricket, everyone becomes nationalistic about their home teams.”

He said he was rooting for Sri Lanka in the final because he favored underdogs.

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets to win its second World Cup title.

“Even though I’m a British citizen and I’ve been living in India since I was born and India has a good team, I expected Sri Lanka to win,” Johnson said.

“It would be better for a small country to be the winner sometimes,” he added.

Frederick Alloysius, who works as the quality control officer at Aphrodite, a South Jakarta bar that showed the World Cup final, said there was a healthy number of cricket fans in Jakarta, though not a lot of them were Indonesians.

“In the past few years, the number of cricket fans in the city has increased, especially among the Indian, English and Australian communities,” Alloysius said.

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