It is not just the pitch that is keeping the DDCA worried. The ‘fragile & weak’ over-enthusiastic kids around it too have managed to land it in a soup. The match observer, Pratap Satpathy, was so annoyed by the presence of too many ball-pickers (ball boys around the boundary rope) that he had to rap the Delhi cricket officials.
One of the kids, who is the grandson of a top DDCA official, was asked to leave as he was too young to be handling a cricket ball at the boundary for the entire day. Others were blamed for creating trouble as they would enthusiastically run up to the players.
And that wasn’t all. The observer wasn't happy with the standard of cleanliness.
DDCA Joint Secy (Sports) SS Sarin, who was handling the selection and induction of the ball-pickers, admitted the problem. “Yes, unfortunately the match observer wasn't happy with us. I don’t know their age, but some of them were deemed too fragile and weak to do the job.”
He further added that the squalor around the ground had also irked the official.
When contacted, Satpathy told HT that his report is confidential. “I can’t comment on it.”
Where’s the ticket?
The strength of the crowd could be gauged even from outside the stadium with face painters and touts wandering aimlessly.
The shocking part was the black market ticket prices on Monday, which interestingly was a public holiday due to Eid. A scalper near Ambedkar Stadium was selling R100 daily tickets for just R150 and later in the day, a R500 ticket was available for the same price. “No one is buying them,” he said.
It was surprising because the counter at the Bank of Maharashtra, less than a kilometer from the stadium, was struggling to meet the requirements. They had been open on both the playing days but suddenly ran short of tickets on both days.
On Monday, they first said there were no R100 daily tickets left and, after a while, said there were no R500 tickets. “We are open from 10 am to 6.30pm everyday,” said an official.
On Monday, the counter shut at 3.00pm.