Abdul Jalil, that familiar face in the stands whenever and wherever the Pakistani cricket team plays, will miss the action when Misbah-ul Haq’s boys tae on India at the Eden Garden on January 3. In fact, apart from Delhi, Pakistani fans will be missing in all the other matches.
Travel agents in Pakistan entrusted with the responsibility of sending Pak cricket supporters across the border told HT that tickets for the matches are yet to reach them.
“Apart from 1,000 tickets for the match in New Delhi on January 6, no ticket of any other match has reached us. We have no idea whether they would arrive at all. Even if we get it now, it would be impossible to process the visa applications,” Mathew D’ Souza of Bukhari Travel and Tourism Service told HT from his Karachi office.
Bukhari Travel is one of the three travel agents appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to sell match tickets and facilitate the travel of the Pakistani fans. The two other PCB-appointed travel agencies — American Express Travel Service and Brit Tours and Travels — had similar stories to tell.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has allotted 500 seats for the matches in Bangalore (T-20 on December 25), Ahmedabad (T-20 on December 27), Chennai (one day on December 30) and Kolkata (one day on January 3).
If Pakistani travel agents are to be believed, the tickets did not reach them. And since visa applications had to be accompanied by tickets, the travel documents could not be processed.
But why didn’t the tickets reach the Pakistani fans? BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale refused comment beyond saying, “We have already issued a press release where we have clarified our stand.”