Under-fire England gear up for ‘away’ match at own World Cup

England need all the help they can get as they try to get their World Cup campaign back on track against India. But is this really a “home” tournament for Eoin Morgan’s side?

Huge numbers of Pakistan and India fans from Britain’s large south Asian community have turned grounds green and blue during the tournament, giving passionate backing to their favourite teams. ALSO READ: Eoin Morgan hopeful of Roy and Archer’s availability for crunch India tie

Normally sedate English stadiums have been transformed into seething cauldrons of noise and colour, despite the damp conditions at the start of the tournament.

Even minnows Afghanistan have enjoyed backing from a hardy knot of flag-waving fans who made their presence felt in their opener against Australia. ALSO READ:  Virat Kohli sees tournament pressure reason behind England’s sudden struggle

On Sunday, Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground will play host to thousands of passionate India fans, desperate to see the two-time champions seal their place in the World Cup semi-finals. ALSO READ: India’s middle order not a worry for Virat Kohli

Morgan, whose side need to win both of their final matches, against India and New Zealand, to guarantee a place in the semi-finals, said England’s players knew before the tournament what they would be up against, despite being the home side. ALSO READ: Desperate England seek upswing against rampaging India to keep semi-final hopes alive

“When you play Asian teams you certainly get that impression that there’s a lot of fans there,” he said.

“It is what it is. We have accepted that when we do play against teams like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, they will feel like away games. And that is just the way cricket is.”

Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said his team felt the benefit of the support.

“Always, wherever we go, doesn’t matter whether it’s India, England or Australia,” he said. “Whichever country, we get that (crowd backing) and enjoy that a lot.”

Pakistan’s Imam-ul-Haq said the level of support in England gave the team a huge lift, making matches feel like home games.

“We have been coming here for the last three years so support is always good,” he said.

“England is a home away from home and the kind of support we get here is admirable. In the second match at Nottingham (against England) it was like 50-50 support from the fans and that encouraged us a lot.”