Watching the Test match at Green Park with his family on all days was part of Rajesh Sachdeva’s plan till recently. A few days back, they dropped the idea and headed to Chandigarh.
They will now watch the match on TV, as enjoying the game in a sanitised environment is better than contracting dengue and chikungunya at the stadium, which is surrounded by filth.
“The day I heard about the epidemic in Kanpur, I chose to give away my tickets as I don’t find it suitable to let everyone watch the match in the open,” Sachdeva told HT over the phone. “I am leaving for Chandigarh as we have plans to enjoy the match in the drawing room of my brothers’ house. This will also be a vacation for the family,” said Sachdeva, who runs an automobile spare parts shop here.
The family’s apprehension isn’t misplaced as over 1000 people, including 300 policemen, have tested positive for dengue and chikungunya.
“This added to my fear when I heard today (Wednesday) that Ishant Sharma too is down with chikungunya and will not play the first Test,” he said.
Even school children, who have been allowed free entry by the organisers, have reportedly turned down the offer. Even the lure of the famous ‘Thagoo ke Ladoo’ at the stadium, to celebrate India’s 500th Test, didn’t work.
“We will not send nursery and junior students (who wear half shirts and shorts) for the match, but have allowed senior boys and girls (who wear full shirts and salwar kurta),” said the head of a reputed school. “We have asked the students to apply anti-mosquito repellants during the match.”
At least three persons, including one affected with chikungunya, died here on Tuesday and the number could rise as almost all the city hospitals are bursting at the seams.
“The sale of tickets is poor due to this fear, and it is alarming for us too,” said an official of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association. “Hot and humid conditions have forced fans to avoid coming to the ground,” he added.
The official claimed measures were being taken to clean the stadium and its surroundings. “A special drive has been launched as we are concerned about the former captains who will be here for the opening of the historical 500th Test on Thursday morning,” he said.