Rob Lewis, who is now named as 'England's most patient Cricket fan', is a member of England's Barmy Army Cricket fan club and had waited 10 patient months in Sri Lanka upon his arrival in the island on March last year to witness the most fantastic England - Sri Lanka Test cricket series, only to be kicked off Galle Fort by Police moments before the match started.
The England team had already arrived in Sri Lanka and was playing rehearsals, but the tournament was suspended amid the Covid-19 risk and the England team had left the country.
Lewis kept his faith for ten patient months stranded in Sri Lanka, as he had lost not only the opportunity to participate the cheering crowd, but also was forced to isolate himself on an island 5,400 miles far from his homeland due to the abrupt suspension of air travels between the two countries amid the pandemic. Mandatory curfew was imposed across the country. Lewis counted days, in his tiny place in Sri Lanka, until the England team returned to play.
Bringing much joy to his expectations, the England team arrived in Sri Lanka recently and the first match of the Test series started today at Galle International Stadium. However, it has been decided to hold the matches without spectators due to the prevailing situation of the country.
Lewis might have lost the opportunity to directly witness the battlefield, but he had not given up hope. He had made every effort to obtain special permission to go to the stadium to watch the game, but failed. In a last resort, Lewis decides to sit on Galle Fort alone and back up his country mates. He already knew the spot he should be standing - near the Clock Tower of Galle Fort.
But there came a fist dragging him out, the long-awaiting Barmy Army Cricket fan, who had been stranded in a foreign land for 10 months in his sole dream of seeing the mates whom he was supposed to cheer, lost his opportunity to watch the match live from Galle Fort, as Police told him to leave. No spectators will be allowed to watch the match from Galle Fort, Police said!
However, international commentators were seen committing their activities from Galle Fort, to Lewis' surprise, and as he inquired about this, he was told by Police that the activities were being carried out at the approval of SLC.
There goes his dream! Lewis, the most patient Cricket fan of England, who had isolated himself far from home for ten straight months in Sri Lanka amid a pandemic, was compelled to witness his special moment on TV!
In the government's on-going pledge of taking all possible steps to revive the country's tourism industry, had this one simple Barmy Army Cricket geek been given a special permission to visit the stadium, it could have been a boost to the value of Sri Lanka before the eye of the international community. If Lewis is given the opportunity now to visit the stadium in future, it will be an added point. Has he been given the opportunity, to witness the second innings at least, even Lewis himself may find his inner peace and be able to finally put a closure to his 10-month sacrifice.