IND vs SA: England fans who flew down to watch India play Tests in South Africa

Paul Kerfoot and Neil Clayton, fans from England flew down to watch India play the first Test against South Africa in Centurion.

Published : Dec 28, 2023 19:30 IST , CENTURION - 2 MINS READ

England Test fans in Centurion: Paul Kerfoot and Neil Clayton.
England Test fans in Centurion: Paul Kerfoot and Neil Clayton. | Photo Credit: P.K. AJITH KUMAR

England Test fans in Centurion: Paul Kerfoot and Neil Clayton. | Photo Credit: P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Even before the Test series between South Africa and India was confirmed, Paul Kerfoot, a retired government servant in England, booked his flight tickets and hotel. Since he didn’t want to take a chance, he made bookings for Centurion and Durban for the first Test.

Neil Clayton made his plans later but ensured he could reach in time before the first ball was bowled at Centurion on Boxing Day. He reached alright, though his luggage didn’t.

READ | IND vs SA Live Score, First Test Day 3

There is nothing unusual about fans following their national teams on foreign tours, but people like Clayton and Kerfoot are rare. How often do you find cricket fans spending a fortune to watch Test series of neutral countries? Especially now, when the longest format attracts fewer viewers globally. The broadcasters- a commentator once told this correspondent that- aren’t making money from Tests.

But fans like Clayton and Kerfoot prove that Test cricket still has a lot of takers. “I have been looking forward to this series,” says Clayton, a lawyer. “I particularly wanted to watch K.L. Rahul, Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. I was delighted that Rahul scored a hundred but disappointed that Shami could not make it here,”

Clayton has been touring overseas to watch Test matches for more than a few decades. Kerfoot has been doing it for three decades.

“I was here when England played their first Test in South Africa after the ICC’s ban (on account of apartheid) ended in 1995-96,” says Kerfoot. “During the first Test here at Centurion, some fans, including me had sought South African captain Hansie Cronje’s autograph; he apologised for making us wait. You won’t find many sportsmen like that today.”

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment