Bangalore, Feb 24 (IANS) Obtaining tickets for cricket matches in India has always been a messy affair — and Thursday’s chaos at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium was merely one more instance of fans outnumbering tickets in thousands.
How many tickets are for the public and how many were, and will be, sold for the ongoing cricket World Cup in India? Answers will vary widely, not only for different venues but at each venue as well.
Till Thursday morning when around 7,000 tickets are said to have been sold in just three hours for Sunday’s India-England clash in Bangalore, no one was sure how many were on sale.
The Bangalore media has been reporting varied numbers, based on briefings by the Karnataka State Cricket Association officials.
A week ago the number ranged around 10,000, came down to 6,000 a couple of days later, went up to 7,000, making it a great guessing game for the fans who were determined to be part of the crowd in the stadium than outside watching the action on TV sets.
There were no advertisements or any official announcement in the media or at the sprawling stadium in the heart of the city on the number of tickets available for sale.
Of course that communication was no guarantee that thousands would not have turned up for tickets, as many preferred to slug Wednesday night out near the stadium.
That despite police trying to chase them away!
The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) authorities expressed helplessness in arriving at the exact number of tickets for the public.
They were waiting for tickets to be released from the International Cricket Council, Board of Control for Cricket in India, meeting the commitments to these cricketing bodies, sponsors and the like.
The result was that on Thursday morning there were, according to police estimates, around 30,000 cricket fans outside the Chinnaswamy stadium for the ‘around 7,000 tickets’ – a ratio of more than four people for one ticket.
It was not a single profile queue either.
There were four to five people falling over each other in a row. With many ticket seekers freely giving out the number of tickets available for public — at one time the talk was just 1,000 tickets for sale — jostling and pushing was inevitable.
To keep order as restlessness grew among the crowd, police swung their canes targeting the knee or the shoulder. But such was the craze that many squirmed with pain but stuck to their place in the queue.
Call it craze, foolhardy or plain stupidity.
For the fan, being in the stadium, joining in the roar of the crowd or in booing the hero who flops or an umpire who raises or does not raise the finger is all that matters.
The high definition TV sets may capture the action live but for the fans it is a poor substitute for the six-hour ‘life’ in the stadium.