Barmy Army to be a reduced battalion for current Ashes series

Updated: Nov 20, 2010, 18:02 PM IST

Sydney: England’s ‘Barmy Army’ may not make it to Australia in full force to witness the upcoming Ashes series, as it appears to be cash stripped.

Officials are predicting that about 15,000 to 20,000 English fans would arrive to support their team for the tour, well down from the 40,000 who visited during the 2006-07 Ashes.

“‘People are having to make tough decisions in tough times,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Barmy Army co-founder Paul Burnham, as saying.

“Going away on an Ashes tour is difficult to justify for some people.’ Especially when the price in pounds has jumped 40 per cent in four years,” he added.

Virgin Money, a UK-based financial services company, calculates that a full summer package of cricket in Australia will cost English fans about 30,000 dollars.

“Australia is no longer the bargain-basement cricket destination it was,” said Nick Larkworthy of Virgin Money.

However, Arj Rupesinghe, General Manager of the Pig ‘N’ Whistle, the official Brisbane headquarters for the Barmy Army, is bracing himself for a busy week.

“I’ve heard the talk about unsold tickets, but I think the vibe is bigger now than it was four years ago. This series matters. Australia really wants to win the Ashes back,” Rupesinghe said.

The first of the five Ashes Tests will be held at The Gabba in Brisbane from November 25 to 29.

It will be followed by Tests in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

The tour also has two Twenty20 clashes and a seven-match ODI series.

ANI