A favourite photo from Chennai, India, in 2004, the first thing that comes to mind as I look at this today is a 'conversation' I had with an Englishman at Old Trafford at the Ashes Test Match, during Australia's Cricket Tour Of England in 2019. Sitting down and getting my flag out, this bloke behind leaned forward stating;
"That flag better not touch me!"
"Yeah, I will do my best not to flick your eye out" I jovially replied.
"No, I'm serious. I do not want that flag touching me, you understand?!"
Not so jovially; "If it does somehow touch you, it is purely unintentional and I apologise in advance!"
"There will be no time for apologies if it does, I warn you."
"Why, do you think you'll get some incurable skin disease if it does? Show a bit of tolerance mate or aren't opposition spectators allowed to show who they support? Something tells me you are at the wrong 'Old Trafford'"
At which point his mate told him to settle and asked me to turn around and 'forget about him'. After such a pointless and unprovoked act of hostility, it was hard to forget him as I did my best to wave left-handed and keep the flag flowing forward, rather than behind. Talk about spoiling my day. #FootballHooligan
Back to the photo, as passionate and parochial as Indian spectators are, they also just want to have fun and not only do they often wave our Australian Flags as a gesture of solidarity (or wont to get on TV), but intent on enjoying what was a very tight Test Match way back then, not even the police minded leaning against the 'Boxing Kangaroo'.
It's part and parcel of supporting any game. You've got two teams, two sets of colours, two different flags, and if you don't respect the opposition's right to display their colours, you can't expect them to respect yours for without the opposition, there is no game! And wouldn't that be rubbish!!