Problems for Mohali as tour delayed
The delay in the Pakistani cricket team's tour of India has led to the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) cancelling the booking of 500 hotel rooms for thousands of Pakistanis who were expected to watch the first Test at Mohali.
The delay was caused by the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) refusal to play a Test at Ahmedabad, which had witnessed communal violence in 2002.
Mohali was scheduled to host the first Test according to the original plan, but the PCA is now facing organisational problems for the match.
"We had booked practically every single hotel room (in Mohali and nearby Chandigarh) for the match because we are expecting thousands of guests from Pakistan," PCA chief IS Bindra said.
He said about 10,000 Pakistani fans were expected to cross over to watch the five-day Test.
Following the redrawing of the itinerary, the PCA had to cancel the hotel bookings.
"We had booked 400-500 rooms. And these days hotels are always booked (because of local marriages)," said Bindra, a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"There will be problems (for PCA) now," he said.
Bindra said other venues would also have problems after the redrawn itinerary was announced.
"Hotel rooms in Bangalore are going at $500 (a night)," he said about the Karnataka capital that will also host a Test.
Bindra, however, appreciated that the BCCI had "compulsions" in redrawing the itinerary after the PCB refused to play a five-day Test at Ahmedabad.
PCA's Mohali stadium is widely considered one of India's best international venues and it has a sporting pitch to add to its USP.
The association is also known to be a gracious host, as it showed a few years ago, when thousands of Pakistani fans crossed the Wagah border in Punjab to watch a One-Day International at Mohali.
It now hopes to do an encore when Inzamam-ul-Haq's team lands in the small suburban town of Mohali, a few kilometres from state capital Chandigarh.
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