At a time when the world’s cricket chiefs are trying everything to woo spectators to the five-day game, the scenes outside Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium before the start of the play on Day 1 of the fourth Test between India and England were upsetting for fans, both Indian and English. (SCORECARD)
There was total chaos at the ticket counter where some fans queued up from as early as five in the morning to pick up their tickets booked online.
There were just two ticket windows operating at the hockey stadium adjacent to the Wankhede Stadium where the Mumbai Cricket Association generally makes provision to sell tickets.
This resulted in long queues outside the ground stretching almost a kilometer, parallel to the Churchgate railway station.
The fans, who had bought tickets online, were furious as they were deprived of watching the pre-toss training and of course, the action from Ball One.
“Despite paying money, we cannot watch the match from the beginning. This is absolutely ridiculous. There is no management whatsoever,” said a furious fan to HT.
Thousands of fans were waiting in a queue when play started. The stadium could have been almost full had the mismanagement at the ticket counter not taken place.
While the daily ticket quota was sold out, there was no communication to the hundreds of fans waiting in a separate queue seeking entry to the ground.
There was an equally long queue for the fans to get into the ground from the University Pavilion end.
Nightmare for Mumbai fans
It was a nightmare for fans who had bought tickets online for the Sachin Tendulkar stand as they had to collect their ticket from the counters at the hockey stadium next to the Churchgate station and then walk nearly two kilometres or take a taxi to go to the University Pavilion gate near the Marine Lines station to gain entry.
As the crowd started getting restless, the police got into action to maintain clam. Luckily there was no lathicharge.
The Mumbai Cricket Association staff rushed to the spot to check whether they could set up another window for smooth distribution of tickets but there wasn’t any such possibility.
“We checked if we can set up another window, but there’s no provision for another window,” said an MCA official on the spot.
MCA joint secretary Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar said the chaos at the ticket counter was due to confusion over two queues.
“There is a limited quota for sale of daily tickets at the counter. Most tickets are sold online. After the daily quota of tickets was exhausted, the counter was closed.
“There was another queue of fans who had bought their tickets online and were waiting for redemption of actual tickets. This led to confusion among fans,” Khanvilkar told HT.
On Thursday, Wankhede Stadium registered 13,665 spectators present inside the ground.