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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Indo-Pak WC tie: Tickets sold out, but where's the buzz?

Indo-Pak WC tie: Tickets sold out, but where's the buzz?

Source: PTI
October 12, 2023 23:39 IST
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A massive police presence at the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the marquee India-Pak match in Ahmedabad on Saturday

IMAGE: A massive police presence at the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the marquee India-Pak match in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Photograph: ANI/X

The first thing that hits you after landing in Ahmedabad and walking out of the aerobridge towards the baggage belt is an electronic billboard.

It says, 'Gujarat Titans welcomes all the ICC 2023 World Cup teams. Aava De'.

Immediately, you are reminded what a behemoth IPL has become and even a global event, which is still the biggest silverware in the world of cricket, needs to pillion ride the local IPL team that has played two finals.

 

In less than 48 hours time, the World Cup's most awaited clash will take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium but those who have witnessed Gujarat Titans' win in the IPL in 2022 at this very venue feel that there was more excitement in the air then compared to an Indo-Pak game.

And herein lies the dichotomy of Ahmedabad as a city.

Travelling from airport to Navrangpura, at the heart of the city and then to Motera at the other corner, not for once did it feel like there is a marquee cricket match being hosted in the city, tickets of which are already sold out.

Not a single ticket is available for the October 14 match. Initially, there were complaints about official ticketing partners not having released enough volume for online sales.

Prompted by high demand, the ICC and BCCI decided to release 14,000 more tickets which were also sold out in less than 30 minutes after start of online sales.

Some fans are ready to pay 10,000 at max for one ticket. But those in the know are saying some people are demanding at least 25,000 for the sale of one ticket in black market.

A senior BCCI official said that there is no chance of getting a ticket now. But, then, why isn't there a frenzy that is associated with a game of this magnitude?

"In Gujarat, cricket is very popular just like any other state in India. 'Par Gujarati apna dhanda chodhke match se pahle stadium ka chakkar nahi lagayenge' (But the Gujarati will not leave work and come to the stadium before the match)," Suraj Patel, a shop owner, said.

Popular Bollywood singer Arijit Singh will perform at the pre-game concert on Saturday 

IMAGE: Popular Bollywood singer Arijit Singh will perform at the pre-game concert on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI/X

For someone coming from Kolkata, witnessing serpentine queues near Eden Gardens and the adjacent Mohammedan Sporting ground with the city's famous Mounted Police indulging in slight lathi-charge to disperse the unruly public trying to get a glimpse of cricketers is a common sight.

May be on October 14, when the cultural function is held or the public get to see their favourite Bollywood star, things would look different at a packed stadium.

As far as the Pakistan team is concerned, the security has been top notch and even two days before the match, the arrangements were all in order.

Around 6000 police and CRPF personnel are expected to cover the perimeter of the stadium.

The Pakistani team hotel has turned into a fortress and even on the floors, where players are staying, police personnel have been deployed.

It is understood that purely for security reasons, the players are not allowed to venture out in the city.

The team was welcomed with traditional Garba dance 'Chogada Tara' and shawls. There wasn't a hysteria like it was in Hyderabad, but there was no dearth of warmth in Ahmedabad.

But the tickets are missing. So is the buzz.

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