Kolkata: Will a ‘Gayle’ storm smash India’s T20 dreams on Thursday? Or will Kohli dance all the way to the dressing room once again?
Speculations over the India-West Indies semifinals have slowly started dominating cricket addas across the globe but Kolkata, as always, is a step ahead. Keeping in mind Kohli’s red-hot form, cricket fans in the city have already started scrambling for tickets of the finals at Eden Gardens. And it seems a crisis – just as it was in the India-Pakistan match – is imminent this time as well.
According to the Cricket Association of Bengal, all tickets for Sunday’s final will be sold online but lack of information over the registration process – which has got over anyway – has left ordinary fans high and dry.
On Tuesday, it was a ‘curtain-raiser’ to the forthcoming chaos when fans, after waiting in the searing sun for hours, discovered that tickets will not be available and ransacked ticket counters, tore posters and pelted stones at the cops. Police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse 500-odd cricket enthusiasts, who then assembled outside Eden Gardens and started protesting. Police had to chase them away.
Abdul Karim Molla from Bhagwangola in Murshidabad arrived in Kolkata early on Tuesday morning and headed straight to Eden Gardens. “Police told me no tickets will be available from the counter. They said I need to register myself online and I will be eligible for a ticket only if I win a lottery. I do not know how to do that but I really want to watch the match,” said Molla, hoping against hope to get the prized ticket.
According to stock-broker Rahul Makhija, CAB should have properly communicated to people about the commencement of the registration process. “Nobody knows when the process started and when it got over. How will an ordinary cricket fan know about this even before the start of the tournament? I feel that it was a conspiracy to rob us of the opportunity to watch the matches,” alleged Makhija.
Eden Gardens can accommodate a little over 65,000 spectators. A bulk of the tickets is given away to the sponsors, members, administration and affiliated clubs. Only a handful is earmarked for ordinary fans.
According to an official of Bookmyshow.com, the registration process was over last month itself. “The winners of the lottery process have been informed. They can fetch their tickets from the web counter at Mohammedan Sporting club,” said an official in Kolkata.
CAB claimed the online process was introduced to bring transparency and avoid black marketing but former cricketers and administrators have criticised the ‘non-transparent’ manner in which the entire process has been conducted.
“The anger of common fans is fair. Nobody knows about the mysterious lottery process. Also, not every fan is tech-savvy enough to buy tickets online. A small portion of the tickets should be sold from over the counters,” said a CAB office-bearer who did not wish to be named.