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Kushal Phatarpekar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 12, 2013
Sachin Tendulkar’s final Test at his homeground and a total of around 32,000 seats available, a chaotic situation was certain. The worst fears came true on Monday when a mere 3500 tickets for general public went up for sale.

Mumbai Cricket Association’s decided to sell them online to save public the ordeal of standing in queues for long hours. It didn’t help and turned out to be an equally frustrating affair for those who tried all day in vain to purchase tickets online. The portal kyazoonga.com crashed and it meant that a large number of tickets remained unsold with only a couple of days left for the second Test.

Incidentally, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) until last week was planning to sell tickets over the counter. However, president Sharad Pawar took a last-minute decision to restrict the sales online.

It was learnt that Pawar feared the counter sales would create a law and order problem, which will eventually lead to bad press for the association which has been embroiled in a number of legal hassles over the past year. “It was feared that many media organisations could initiate sting operations during the sale process to check for any discrepancies. So, Pawar felt the online method would be safer,” an MCA official told HT.

MCA treasurer Vinod Deshpande had informed HT that the sale would be over the counter. He had stated the decision was made to allow fans from all sections of society to purchase the tickets for the landmark event. “However, Pawar’s view about bad press had all members in agreement and the decision was overturned,” the official added.

Not the first instance
Incidentally, the kyazoonga site had similarly crashed during the 2011 ICC World Cup a week before the final. The site had then received 10 million hits within minutes of the sale being opened. Eventually a lottery system was adopted as a last-minute measure.

“After the crash in 2011, kyazoonga officials had informed us that they could not handle the traffic and many tickets were returned. We had to eventually devise a lottery system to get the tickets distributed,” the official said. Later, fresh controversy arose as further mismanagement of tickets forced the MCA to initiate an inquiry when 405 tickets were found unsold despite the huge demand.

Last known, only 15% of the of the 32,000-capacity Wankhede stadium has been made available for fans.