When Australian cricket fan Luke Gillian last visited Pakistan in 1998, local fans threw rocks at him when he went out in public.
Now everyone wants a selfie.
Gillian has returned to Pakistan with a small troop of Australian superfans, dubbed the ‘Fanatics’, on their first tour of Pakistan in almost a quarter of a century – and has been blown away by the reception they have received .
Luke GIllian tells Rawalpindi, 500 photographs were taken of him every day | Photo: AFP
Australia for 24 years, along with many international teams, refused to travel to Pakistan for security reasons.
“He was seen as too dangerous to go out,” Gillian told AFP of visiting on the last Australian tour in 1998.
“When I came out, there were large groups of people walking in the streets and stones were thrown at me.”
Nearly a quarter of a century later, mentalities have changed.
Returning to Pakistan after 1998 | Photo: AFP
“I think in Rawalpindi 500 photos were taken of me every day, easily,” said the 51-year-old from Victoria.
“I was given I don’t know how many cups of tea, how many pieces of cake, bottles of Pepsi, water and just little props that people gave us as ‘thank you’ – cups free hair, free laundry.”
Over the years he has visited every major cricketing country, even socializing with big Australian names such as Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Justin Langer.
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