Just how much cricket is enough cricket? Three internationals at a venue in less than two months clearly isn’t. Since Monday, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India shifted the second one-dayer between India and Sri Lanka from Visakhapatnam to Nagpur, the Vidarbha Cricket Association telephones have been ringing off the hook with people enquiring about tickets.
Ticket sales started on Wednesday morning with the lower denominations (Rs 200 & Rs 400) being distributed from 17 branches of the Bank of Maharashtra and for the 1200 members of the VCA, who started queuing up more than two hours before the scheduled start of ticket issuing. The high-priced tickets (Rs 1000, 1500 and 2000) will go on sale from today.
“The way the teams have played in Rajkot has raised the enthusiasm. We are keen to see India win and take revenge of their T20 loss here. The money is not important, come on, it’s cricket,” Rajesh Nair, a VCA member and a software engineer waiting in the queue, said.
Even the association must have been wary of a poor turnout and actually reduced prices of some of the tickets. But with fans like Rajesh they needn’t have worried.
The frequency with which the VCA is getting to host BCCI matches did raise a few eyebrows, but what has been more surprising is the enthusiasm of fans and the efficiency with which the association is almost through with the preparations in just two days.
“We have hosted matches in the past in very short notice. I remember we got the Steve Waugh-led Australia team’s warm-up match against India A at very short notice after it was shifted here from Baroda due to communal problems there. We have also hosted a few Irani Cup and domestic matches in very short notice. It is our efficiency that has got us this match as well,” Rajan Nair, the VCA assistant-secretary, said.
“As for this match, we had most of the things in place from the T20 International (India vs Sri Lanka on December 9). Our only concern was security since our assembly is in session now. But luckily the session’s three-day break coincided with the match and we were able to relocate the security forces for the match,” Nair said.
But in one another corner of India things are not so rosy. The Andhra Cricket Association had already spent much in anticipation of this match. Visakhapatnam, the original venue for the second ODI, last hosted an international in February 2007, again India vs Sri Lanka. There’s one small compensation for the ACA.
“We have been assured two IPL matches of the Deccan Chargers and so some revenue will be generated. We will also have to check with our insurance guys if we can recover some of the money.”