Small Barmy Military group enjoys time out at Chepauk

Chennai, February 13

The Barmy Army may not be in full force at Chepauk owing to the COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions but they are keen to make their presence felt during the second India-England Test.

A group of six belonging to the Barmy Army from various parts of India is in the city to catch action from the match that got underway here on Saturday.

Barmy Army follows the England cricket team on tours across the world.

According to Joe Phelan, who works in New Delhi, “The atmosphere is fantastic.”       

“There’s six of us, from Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad and we have made it here to support the England cricket team. It is a nice feeling to be at the ground and cheer for our team,” he told PTI.

Asked if he and the other members of the group gave it a lot of thought before making the trip to the southern city, Phelan responded in the negative.

“No… the (COVID cases) numbers have dropped a lot, we took precautions, wearing our PPEs but we were pleased to be coming here,” he said.

Phelan said he was enjoying the atmosphere at the MA Chidambaram Stadium and there was a lot of buzz around.

“The atmosphere is fantastic… I think if there was 50,000 or 60,000 it would be incredible. Everyone is good natured here and love their cricket. There is a lot of noise and buzz and it is great fun,” he said.

Phelan said the Barmy Army enjoyed singing, adding “win or lose”, we always sing as the six-member group enjoyed the day under the sun by belting out some songs.

He said it was good that fans had been allowed entry which meant members of the Barmy Army here could come down to watch the England team in action.

“It is good that the authorities permitted entry of spectators into the stadium which meant we could come down and watch the match at the stadium.

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“We hope to watch play here for two days before getting back to work. Fans are a huge part of sport, and they help it grow,” he added.

On the COVID-19 protocols, he said, “I see most people have got their masks on. I would say they realise the risk they face. It is good to be among the spectators…”

The Barmy Army member also said the authorities had made good arrangements for the fans, with sanitisers being provided, apart from health kiosks.

“Yeah, the arrangements are fine. We got our own sanitisers and our own masks. Sanitisers are being provided for the spectators and health kiosks have been set up. There is good signage here, telling people what to do,” he added.

Phelan appreciated the efforts of the cricketers to entertain the people and said by watching sporting action, many like him felt better during the lockdown.

“COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone. Sport has helped us, those who like sports feel a lot better. There is very bad lockdown in the UK now. Here in India, we have had a long lockdown.

“The lockdown made us remember to appreciate what normal life is like. So we are very lucky to be able to come here. Appreciate the cricketers for the effort they make to give us some entertainment,” he said.

Asked what he thought about the day’s proceedings, Phelan said India opener Rohit Sharma, who scored a sparkling ton, was brilliant.

“It is fantastic. Rohit has been brilliant and England have worked really hard and there have been a few misses. It has been an enjoyable day for us, though it could be better,” he said. PTI

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