They say he is God to 1.2 billion Indian cricket fans and when he walks on to the pitch, they walk with him. But, when Sachin Tendulkar plays his final two Test matches, the fans will all but be kept out of the stadiums - there are very few tickets for them.
Tendulkar plays his 199th and the second last Test of his 24-year-long career at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 6-10. One of India’s biggest cricketing arenas with a capacity of 66,000, the Eden has only roughly 6,000 tickets for ordinary mortals.
Wankhede Stadium, where the second and the last Test of the series against West Indies begins on November 14, is even more cruel. The Mumbai stadium has room for 32,000 but only about 2,000 tickets for the fans for home boy’s final and 200th Test.
So who will be in the stands for the once-in-a-lifetime event? Usual suspects - celebrities, politicians, cricket association affiliates, life members, sponsors ... The list is long.
To get open tickets, which will be available online, one has to be lucky, really lucky. There are just too few tickets for arguably one of the biggest cricketing events in recent years. And remember when sale for 2011 World Cup final tickets opened? The website crashed and never recovered.
Sure, tickets would be sold on the sly, but wouldn’t come cheap. The going rate for a ticket to the Mumbai game is already Rs. 2 lakh, said a source.
Better settle for TV and call in some friends to have a game going.