ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Terrace talk

Written by Jonathan Selvaraj | | February 6, 2015 1:20:07 am

Across streets and mohallas, World Cup conversations are in full swing. Everyday we lend our ears to those passionate voices. Today’s topic is  England’s twelfth man — the Barmy Army.

No one but England  

The chants
Appropriately for a group that took its name from a football chant, the Barmy Army has a song book (check their website) of cheery renditions of popular and often self composed songs to boost their team and belittle the opposition.

While many of their intended recipients are now retired, Stuart Broad might still get some motivation from:

He’s big, he’s bad
He’s better than his Dad
Stuart Broad Stuart Broad

Their meanest and often funniest are off course saved for the Australians. Mitchell Johnson was apparently driven into therapy in 2009 after a chant offering the Barmy Army’s take on the feud that was then brewing between Johnson’s mother and his then girlfriend. Topics weren’t just restricted to off field issues. Johnson once again was the object of this number from the 2011 Ashes.

He bowls to the left. He bowls to the riiiight.
That’s Mitchell Johnson. His bowling is shite.”

The Barmy Army aren’t to be stopped even at times when a tune or even rhyme doesn’t really spring up to mind. Case in point, the one line chant for Shane Watson which simply goes: You’re just a fat medium pacer.

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Aussie hate
Recently the Army retweeted an image of what was claimed to be a T Shirt for the 2015 World Cup. The graphic featured little figurines of cricketers from participating countries all standing straight. All with the exception of a little man in yellow, pulled down by a ball and chain. Their chants can and often are far more barbed. Of course the Australians can always say they don’t need to come with the entertainment because they have an actual team to do it for them. And while beer fuelled malcontents often attempt to take on the Army, their noise doesn’t really compare.

As another Army chant goes.

You’re just trying to be nasty ,
We’ve come to watch our team play ,
You’re bad losers and convicts
and you’ve got nothing to say

Eternal hope
The Army’s enthusiasm is in opposite correlation to the performance of their side itself. But while most of us have made a foolish decision every now and then, the Army to their credit have kept drinking and singing across the world for over two decades. And it’s not even a cheap hobby. Some 45,000 fans reportedly spent $200 million between them to watch England lose 5-0 in the 2013 Ashes. While its uncertain how many Barmy Army members will be present in Australia for the World Cup, its certain that they will likely make some noise even as England likely bow out with a whimper.

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