When Troy decided to buy a clutch of tickets for the Trini Posse stand for Saturday’s India-WI T20 game, he was hoping to make a solid profit by scalping them at the sell-out game.
But half-an-hour before the game, he was still left holding a few of them, hoping to somehow sell off the tickets valued roughly around $75 (R3,361).
Same was the case around the corner as an elderly man kept one eye out for the police as he tried to find takers for tickets valued around $33 (R1,479).
Perhaps they should blame the BCCI for insisting on a 10 am local time start to cater to the millions of Indian fans, who can put their feet up for an evening viewing. That didn't allow the fun loving Caribbean public to watch the action in the right mood, on a Saturday no less. But it only endorsed the recent FICA survey where the majority of players felt the BCCI dominated world cricket at a more than desirable level.
"They (BCCI) insisted that the tie should be played to suit their audience. We didn't have a choice," complained a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) insider. The home board would only know too well where the sponsorship clout lies as their suggestion to have an evening game — morning in India — was turned down.
The Indian players would not have minded playing late in the evening, each one of them coming from the Indian Premier League that featured either 4 pm or 8 pm local time starts.
Sponsorship and television clout arm-twisting changes in sports timings is not unusual. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the IOC took the drastic step of switching the swimming and gymnastics finals to the morning to suit US broadcasters, who had shelled out millions for the rights. Although that left European viewers sitting up late in the night, with fans in Australia, another major swimming nation, having to rise very early to catch the action.
The Indian team's status as ODI world champions has added to their value despite the absence of many senior players for at least the limited-over leg of this series. The early start definitely had a sobering effect in the stands. While spectators were still ambling in well after play started, fans in the Trini Posse stand — the famously boisterous section of the Oval ground where music and drink flow freely and the tickets are priced higher — were surprisingly quiet under the grey skies. The 5-match ODI series will have 9 am local time.