Rob Lewis turned a Barmy Military hero final month as the one England supporter current in the course of the group’s tour of Sri Lanka, after ready 10 months within the nation due to coronavirus restrictions.
His journey has pushed a bunch of six expats — 4 Brits working in three Indian cities, an American and an Australian — to make the journey for the match at Chennai’s M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, the place followers have been allowed in by authorities within the cricket-mad nation for the primary time because the pandemic struck.
“We acquired related to Rob via a typical good friend and tried to get him to India,” mentioned Londoner Joe Phelan, 47.
“The plan was to get him to the cricket floor… However due to the journey restrictions, it was simply not attainable.”
After the England group went dwelling from Sri Lanka final 12 months, superfan Lewis labored remotely within the South Asian island nation as an online designer and took on stints as a nightclub DJ to get by.
His arduous bid to observe England made the group realise that as a number of the few international nationals in India, they have been in a privileged place to observe the match stay.
“Then abruptly tickets turned obtainable and, actually impressed by Rob and what he meant for English followers and for all cricket followers, we thought we’re in India and might go,” mentioned Delhi-based Phelan.
All six wore T-shirts that includes Lewis’s face beneath their matching blazers from the Delhi expat cricket membership, the Viceroys, that the majority of them belong to.
Overseas vacationers are nonetheless barred from India, leaving Phelan and the 5 others as the one voices backing Joe Root and his males.
The opposite Englishmen are Harry Martin, 30, who lives in Mumbai, Delhi-based Mark Might, 58, and Simon Harrison, 35, who travelled from Hyderabad.
The tiny Barmy Military contingent will likely be drowned out by some 15,000 dwelling followers, however they’ve pledged to be in good voice regardless.
“We are going to attempt to get some Indians to sing together with us,” mentioned Phelan. “We’ll be singing our greatest and I hope we’ve got sore throats by Sunday evening.”
The Englishmen have been accompanied by 30-year-old Matt Christensen from america and Australian Peter Nicholls, 44.
The Australian wasted no time in sledging his English mate Phelan as they queued to get into the raucous stadium.
“It is so uncommon that England does effectively. He (Phelan) is exterior his consolation zone as a result of England usually do not do effectively,” he joked.
However maybe stung by Australia’s current shock dwelling collection defeat by the hands of India, Nicholls claimed he was but to take sides within the contest.
“I’m torn, I’ve two daughters born in India and I’ve a spouse born in England,” he mentioned.
“I’m not certain who has extra energy over me.”
Christensen in the meantime was absorbing each little bit of the ambiance in his first-ever stay cricket match.
“I’m an enormous baseball fan and I do know a variety of baseball has come from cricket,” the American mentioned with a smile.
“Once I came upon I used to be shifting to India, I did not have the time to review Hindi, however I knew there was one other language Indians converse and that is cricket,” he added.
“So I made a decision I’m going to be taught the whole lot about cricket and I’m tremendous completely satisfied to be right here.”
The six males deliberate to be in Chennai till Sunday night earlier than flying dwelling.
However Phelan mentioned he was in contact with different India-based England fans forward of the 2 Exams in Ahmedabad.
The third Take a look at would be the first match within the western metropolis’s new stadium, the world’s largest, however it’s unclear if followers will likely be allowed.
“Whether or not we’re there or we hand the baton to different England followers,” mentioned Phelan, “the Barmy Military will likely be there in Ahmedabad as effectively.”