Gloucestershire residents John Bodnar, 61, and Adrian Knox, 45, have the script ready: the Indian team to be routed again by the English spinners but Sachin Tendulkar to score centuries in both innings of the Calcutta Test.
“We would like to bowl India out for about 150 but Sachin must score two tons. Then there would be Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen to pile on the agony before we bowl them out cheaply again,” laughed the two friends as they sat on the lower tier of the Clubhouse and watched Team India practise for the match that begins on Wednesday.
The duo said they wanted as much of Sachin as possible and more because they feared he might not play too many Tests in future.
Bodnar is part of the Barmy Army that supports the English team at the grounds at home and abroad. According to him, a whole block at Eden — Block B, to the right of the Clubhouse — would be full of English fans. “We will try our best to out-shout the Eden crowd,” he promised.
If the home crowds are as thin as they were for the West Indies Test last year, the Barmy Army (Adrian is not part of it) may actually be in business.
“On a serious note though we are unhappy learning that the Eden doesn’t fill up any more. We have watched full crowds at the Eden on television and that experience can be exhilarating,” said Knox. “That’s why we chose Eden over other venues.”
The duo from the Forest of Dean area of Gloucestershire are big fans of the longer format of the game and actually believe that the shorter versions are spoiling it. They also found it shocking that alcohol was not allowed inside the ground. They would be more shocked to learn that even food is not allowed inside.
“The Barmy Army has the most effect just after the tea break, you see. We make a lot of noise at that time and it unnerves the opposition but here we are not sure we will have such an impact because without alcohol it would be difficult for us to get into top gear,” said Bodnar.
Other mates from the Barmy Army have warned the two that they could not even carry sun tan lotion or any other cream to the ground.
“I can’t believe the policemen will take away any tube of cream that we would be carrying. So we inquired from Calcuttans in the stand today when the stands to which we have tickets gets sunlight. But no one was sure,” Bodnar said.
The Barmy Army is also at a loss why cameras are not allowed when mobiles, some of which can take pictures of similar quality, are allowed.
All this notwithstanding, the two supporters of Test cricket who love watching the Ashes “especially now that we are winning them”, cannot really wait for the game at the Eden to start.
“It’s wonderful to see this Indian team in transition. I am beginning to like (Virat) Kohli a lot and even Cheteswar Pujara, who plays like Rahul Dravid. Just a moment ago, we were watching Sachin at the nets and he was as awesome as ever,” said Knox, who played for English schools as a batsman in his youth.
“But Monty is the man,” chipped in Bodnar, summing up the upbeat mood in the Barmy camp post Mumbai.