In the Barmy Army, England have one of the best travelling support in cricket. Ruffling opposition feathers, while driving on the England team, is its job.
Although a large number of English fans are at the Wankhede, it appeared the usual passionate cheering was absent. But if you take a stroll through the stands, you will run into many of them. “How can we not be there? There are around a thousand of us,” says Trev Hewitt. “But those in charge of tickets didn’t give us the option to choose the seats. They’ve left us scattered.”
For the Army hopping from continent to continent over the last 14 years, even not getting beer in the stadium is not an issue. “The players love us. They know we are always there for them. When we have the first sip of beer in the hotel after play, we know it’s worth it.”
The last time England played a Test in Mumbai, in 2006, the battle in the stands was also absorbing. The Wankhede crowd can intimidate, but the England fans matched them chant for chant. “Then, most of us sat together on those wooden planks. This time, we can’t give it back to the Indians,” says Hewitt, jumping to cheer a Cook boundary.
But they are unfazed. “However small a group we are, we always believe that even if we can lift the boys up by a percent, we can be proud,” says Allen Silverwood, as five members sing, ‘Go Army, Barmy Army’.