Ticket sales for the tournament are set to kick off on August 25, a mere month and a half before the opening match.This staggered approach to ticket sales has left fans questioning the preparedness of the event’s organisers and caused consternation among those who are eager to secure their spots in the stadiums.
The World Cup schedule itself has not been without its share of turmoil. The schedule was unveiled in June, but only after a considerable delay. More recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the rescheduling of nine matches, exacerbating the frustration felt by fans.The current state of uncertainty is further compounded by the potential for yet another change in the schedule. The Hyderabad state unit is advocating for a one-day gap between games slated for October 9 and 10, potentially leaving fans even more perplexed.
Comparisons to previous editions of the World Cup only fuel fans’ dissatisfaction. In 2011, when India co-hosted the tournament, ticket sales commenced in June 2010, affording fans ample time to plan their travel and accommodation. The 2019 edition held in England announced its schedule over a year in advance, allowing fans to make their arrangements with ease.
The frustration extends beyond the borders of India. Rishabh Singhvi, a cricket enthusiast residing in Singapore, has invested nearly Rs five lakh in flights and accommodations to attend multiple India games. However, the absence of a guarantee for match tickets has cast a shadow over his meticulously crafted plans.
“I have been planning this for four to five months, but since ticket sales have not yet started, I don’t know what will happen,” Singhvi voiced his concerns with a hint of exasperation.
The steep accommodation costs, particularly for the marquee clash in Ahmedabad, have added to fans’ woes. Rooms fetching upwards of Rs 50,000 per night have prompted some zealous fans to explore unconventional options, including booking hospital beds for their stay.
Atirav Kapur, a Delhi-based cricket aficionado, had swiftly secured his flight for the highly anticipated India-Pakistan match in Ahmedabad following its announcement in June. However, a one-day advancement of the match date has thrown a wrench into his plans. “I have already paid Rs 40,000 for the Delhi-Ahmedabad return flight… It is a total mess,” Kapur expressed his frustration.
While officials from BCCI-affiliated state units acknowledge the challenges, they point to the complexity of organising an event of this magnitude in India. “We are three-four months late when it comes to schedule and tickets, but I am sure eventually, we will have a successful World Cup,” conceded one official. Another emphasised the need to strike a balance between early scheduling and the bureaucratic hurdles inherent in India’s cricket landscape.
Amidst the turmoil, the upcoming ODI World Cup is still poised to be a resounding success. Despite the organisational hiccups, the passion of Indian cricket fans is predicted to fill all ten venues across the nation.
Atirav Kapur summed up the sentiment of many fans, stating, “The situation won’t change as long as the fans keep coming. The day fans stop coming to stadiums, maybe the authorities will start caring.”
As the clock ticks down, fans hold onto the hope that their frustrations will be overshadowed by the celebration of cricket that the ODI World Cup promises to deliver.
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(With inputs from PTI)