It’s not long until England head off on their second tour of South Africa in 2020, though this time there is one key difference, the Barmy Army won’t be there to roar them on.
The current global circumstances dictate that the two series, three T20s followed by three ODIs, have to be played behind closed doors.
An understandable conclusion and a decision made with everyone’s health in mind but a frustrating one nonetheless.
Newlands in Cape Town will play host to four of the six matches on the upcoming tour and that was the venue of one of the Barmy Army’s most impressive recent displays.
With England chasing the game, the faithful supporters in the ground kept the side going with their constant singing, helping Joe Root’s men to a famous victory.
“Each Test was amazing but that Cape Town Test specifically was unbelievable,” explained Ollie Pope on the latest episode of The Shackles Are Off podcast. “Going away and feeling like you’re playing a home game. Where every single person is behind you and supporting you, pretty much.
“I remember batting on the first day in the evening and managed to get to my 50 and it felt like 20,000 were chanting my name. It just felt amazing. I felt like a footballer.”
Pope added that the encouragement of the Barmy Army often proved key when they needed a breakthrough.
He said: “It was exactly what we needed. There were some good wickets out there, Cape Town was a nice wicket, and there were times I remember where the Barmy Army were singing the song they sing until we get a wicket.
“We’re just stood there wondering where this wicket has come from. It’s almost like we’ve got the responsibility to get the wicket so you guys can sit down for 10 minutes. It looks so tiring, especially after a few pints.”
Pope added: “Those times where we felt like it was just flat and there were two in batsmen but the Barmy Army are still singing their hearts out. That is what keeps us going.”
The England players will likely be used to playing to empty stadiums and without the boost of their most faithful fans by now but the Surrey and England batsman revealed it’s something they discussed earlier in the summer.
He explained: “It’s what we missed (in the summer). It’s one of the things we spoke about this summer with the bubble.
“That’s probably one of the main things that we did miss – when things are a little bit flat and the game’s not moved as quickly as it could be or as quickly as you’d like it to, that extra little boost from the Barmy Army.
“It does make a massive difference as well.”
We can’t be there for the upcoming series in South Africa but we’re counting down the days until we can return.