England’s cricket fans have complained they have suffered from a poor allocation of tickets for the cricket world cup, leaving Sunday’s crunch match against India dominated by visiting supporters.
Nearly 55 per cent of tickets for England clash with India at Edgbaston have been snapped up by supporters identifying as India fans, compared to just 42 per cent by England supporters, that means around 13,500 of those at the 24,500-capacity ground will be backing the visitors, compared to about 10,300 rooting for England.
And the official figures do not take into account those bought on resale sites. There is a huge demand for resale tickets, with some going for upwards of £560, leaving many England fans empty handed.
England fans say they have had to compete for tickets with the huge following of teams like India, as well as finding they have lost out to companies offering travel and ticket packages to visiting supporters.
Chris Millard, managing director of England cricket’s Barmy Army supporters group, said: “The way the tickets have been dealt with has not been the most efficient way of getting real cricket fans into the grounds. There has been a massive application and regular cricket fans have suffered from that. It’s been like trying to get tickets for Glastonbury.
“This match could be like an away game for England because the Indian fans are very vocal and are going to be there in such numbers. But we’ll be doing our best to make our support for England heard.”
England need to win the match if they are to maximise their chances of going through to the knockout stages of the tournament, but the atmosphere is likely to be intimidating – with India’s fans set to turn the ground into a cauldron of saffron, white and green.
To counter the dominance of the Indian fans England supporters have been urged to raise their voices and drown out the opposition.
Mr Millard said: “India has got a massive and enthusiastic following and they create quite an atmosphere for their side. England supporters tend not to be quite as loud, but we’ll try to make as much noise as we can.
“Hopefully the World Cup anthem It’s Coming Home will be played on the ground’s tannoy and we can all get behind that and drown out the Indian fans.”
There was a taste of things to come when India played Australia earlier this month, with their supporters outnumbering support for the Aussies by some margin.
As the television cameras panned across The Oval stands, there were few yellow shirts to be seen.
Michael Vaughan, England’s former captain, wrote on Twitter: “So far I have seen 33 Aussie supporters in the Ground at the Oval and that includes the Team and support staff!”
Those words may come back to haunt England on Sunday, with the players aware of the emotional backdrop to the match with India.
During Pakistan’s innings at Trent Bridge, England’s Chris Woakes was seen ‘shushing’ a group of the visitors’ supporters after he took the first of his four catches. Jason Roy then dropped a catch, sending those backing Pakistan wild.
With two of England’s players, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, being of Pakistani descent they are likely to receive a torrid reception from those in the crowd backing the country’s arch-rivals India.
Joe Root stressed the need for cool heads to prevail when England take the field on Sunday against Virat Kohli’s side.
“I personally think we have to be very calm about how we approach the next couple of games because the games themselves might get quite emotional,” he said. “Especially with the atmosphere at Edgbaston.”
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