New Delhi, Oct 12: On a sweltering Wednesday afternoon at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, the west and east stands were steadily being filled up by fans ahead of the league-stage match between hosts India and Afghanistan.
Despite the stadium being 75% full at the start time of the game, the two hill stands and terraces had a lot of vacant seats, which were completely packed by evening as India registered a comprehensive eight-wicket win in front of nearly 35,000 fans, as compared to the official capacity of 37,500.
But there was something bizarre which unfolded ahead of Wednesday’s clash. On Tuesday, BookMyShow, the official ticketing partner of the tournament, apparently opened sale of the tickets for the India-Afghanistan clash after showing sold out post previous phases of selling.
Quite obviously, the word spread on social media and many Delhi-based fans began checking the website constantly to get tickets to watch the Indian team in action. Amongst the fans vying to get tickets was Jayesh, who was looking to buy for his friend, who eventually attended the clash on Wednesday.
"I got tickets one day before the game, at 12 pm on October 10. Basically, there was no prior intimidation or announcement from the tournament organisers regarding the sale of it. It was just that I randomly opened the BookMyShow website and then got the tickets. So, it happened at the very last moment and also because I remember something similar happened when the India-Australia game happened," said Jayesh to IANS.
Like Jayesh pointed out, a similar situation unfolded in Chennai on October 8 when the hugely-anticipated India-Australia clash happened at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk. When the toss happened, only a sparse crowd had come in, with many waiting in the queues to come in.
By mid-afternoon, the crowd began to fill up as official attendance of 32,531 was announced. Coming to the bizarre part, BookMyShow, who had declared the India-Australia game as a sold-out clash, had quietly initiated the sales of some tickets on the morning of the match.
"I got to know about the ticket sales through a page on Twitter (now X), and got the tickets on match day itself. I collected the tickets from the Adidas showroom at Express Avenue mall on the way to the ground and got into the stadium at 2:30pm because it was so crowded outside. We had to wait for 45 minutes to get inside the stadium.
"I was trying to get tickets for this match previously, but couldn’t get it on previous sales. But suddenly, on match day, I went on the link and got amongst the few tickets which were up for sale at the K lower stand. When I got into the stand, I saw that some seats were empty in our row, but later on it got filled. As late as 2pm, I saw screenshots on X that people were talking about tickets still being on sale for the match,” said a cricket fan in Chennai, who did not wish to be identified, to IANS.
It has been understood that on certain occasions, some tickets, which were initially kept for the sponsors or other people like office-bearers plus former players, have a provision of being released into the pool for general ticket buying even after the previous ticket sales have been done and dusted.
As of now, it’s not clear why the tickets were sold on the morning of the game in Chennai or before plus on the morning of the clash in New Delhi. In an intriguing development on Saturday, the BCCI announced the sale of 14,000 tickets for the high-octane India-Pakistan clash a week before the match happens on October 14.
"There could have been much more clarity about the sales which could have been there for the matches – if there was much more clarity, it would have been more better for the audience," said the cricket fan from Chennai.
Plus, ahead of Wednesday’s match in New Delhi, BCCI again announced the sale of tickets for the India-Pakistan game, as well as for the India-Bangladesh clash happening on October 19 in Pune, leaving passionate cricket fans stumped. They are now pondering over how to enjoy the spectacle of the World Cup when tickets are being sold in a last-minute and quiet manner.
"I tried in the earlier stage to get tickets for this game, but didn’t get them as at that time, it got sold out before. This ticketing fiasco has been a very disappointing experience for me as a cricket fan.
"It could have been managed quite better and announcements should have been made properly. If someone has to travel from another city to watch a game, then releasing tickets like a day before the game makes it next to impossible for them to collect them and then watch the match," concluded Jayesh. (IANS)