TODAY’s Test match between England and India means divided loyalties for many in Southampton with some supporting the country of their family’s heritage while others are paid-up members of the Barmy Army.
Southampton cricket team Singh XI Saints is a team where those supporting India outnumber the England fans, while captain Gurvinder Bhakhar supports both.
The 25-year-old, from Clovelly Road, said: “I’m in the middle. I don’t mind if England wins, I don’t mind if India wins.”
For Gurvinder having the international cricket played here is “just amazing”.
He said: “We can go down to the ground and watch some world-class players like Alistair Cook and MS Dhoni.”
India wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha visited IBM Hursley, and IT technical specialist Satish Tanna, who supports India, spoke about the “friendly rivalry” with his colleagues at the Hampshire firm.
He said: “People are quite downhearted when England are not doing well. For me, I suffered terribly in 2011 when India got hammered 4-0 by England.”
Friendly rivalry can also be expected at Southampton Central railway station, where arriving fans can enjoy vegetable samosas and bacon rolls at Isaacs Cafe.
Shah Chowdury and Ayesha Hoque of Isaac's Cafe at Southampton Central railway station.
Husband and wife team Ayesha Hoque and Shah Chowdury have turned the Blechynden Terrace eatery into a melting pot of English and Indian cuisine ahead of the match.
For Shah, having his home team come to Southampton is something he has been looking forward to for long time.
“I have been supporting England since was young, when Darren Gough and Nick Knight were playing. They always play well.
“I live to play cricket. Across the south of the continent, in India, Pakistan Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, people are more crazy about cricket than football.”