A set of six, currently based in India, has flown down to Chennai from different parts of the country and will be in attendance on Sunday too. The tiny group was sandwiched between thousands of Team India fans. “There are six of us and we live in India. Four of us have come here from New Delhi. The other two members are from Mumbai and Hyderabad. We will be here for the first two days. We will then return to our cities and get back to work,” said Barmy Army member Joe Phelan, who works with companies that deal with sustainable business and clean energy in the national capital.
The ongoing game marked the return of spectators to any cricket match in India, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the nation in March last year. While everyone expected the locals to fill up the stands, it was a surprise to see a few travelling fans. “Fortunately, the situation in India is much better now. Having fans back is great for Indian cricket, English cricket as well as world cricket. It is wonderful to have crowds,” added Phelan. Despite being outnumbered, the Barmy Army was in full voice on the opening morning, belting out the ‘Jerusalem’ song. “India is a great place and people are very hospitable here. Everyone recognises the fact that it is impossible to travel internationally. So, we understand the situation. In the near future, we would like things to return to normal,” Phelan sounded optimistic.
Making his first trip to the MAC Stadium, Phelan is in awe of the “iconic” venue. “The stadium is stunning. There is a great atmosphere in the stands and it is a wonderful place to watch cricket,” he signed off.