Sachin Tendulkar at a practice session in Mumbai on Wednesday ahead of a Ranji Trophy match. (PTI)
The mouse was overworked at many homes as legions of Sachin Tendulkar fans went click-click since Tuesday midnight for 3,000 online tickets to the master’s penultimate Test — and his last at the Eden Gardens — from November 6.
They booked the seats offered online as quickly as their idol dispatches the cherry to the ropes.
“Just picked up a Block B season ticket for d Eden Test frm tkt genie......yippie,” reads Tunal Ghosal’s Facebook post on Wednesday morning.
A senior official of Ticketgenie (www.ticketgenie.in), the website that sold on behalf of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) tickets priced Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 for all five days of Test No. 199, said the last one was lapped up at 7pm. The sales break-up: Calcutta 50 per cent, rest of Bengal 10 per cent, Jharkhand 10 per cent and others 30 per cent.
The “yippie” in the 41-year-old Sachin devotee’s post is more a sigh of relief than a whoop because by the time he caught the morning news about the online sale of tickets, he was already “eight hours behind everyone else”. He was pretty much sure people were glued to their computers, “choosing their gallery blocks and tiers, while I slept”.
Tunal’s fears were not unfounded because only 3,000 of the 66,400 seats in the galleries were up for grabs, while the rest were reserved for BCCI and CAB officials, dignitaries, affiliated units, foreign delegates and former and current players.
This would be the first Test match at Eden when no ticket would be sold over the counter.
Thankfully, the season tickets were available on the website and Tunal picked up two, the maximum allowed for one email ID.
The website has issued “booking confirmation vouchers” and the actual tickets bearing Sachin images will be sent via courier by November 3.
The online sale deprived Calcuttans of the “home advantage” and forced die-hards like Kaustuv Ghosh to stay up late for his two tickets. “I would have been miserable watching people flocking to the ground on match days… hence the late-night effort. The online arrangement suits me. I stayed awake at home… a small price compared with standing in a serpentine queue all night had the tickets been sold on the Mohammedan Sporting ground,” said Kaustuv, 35, an Eden regular for the past 15 years.
He and his friends have booked Block C seats, as agreed after a flurry of text messages and phone calls. “We have seats all over the gallery, but we will work out a way to sit together,” he said.
There were many whose night watch was not fruitful. Sumana Bhattacharya’s surprise gift for her husband — two tickets to Sachin’s penultimate Test — was “timed out”. She logged in from her desktop at 12.30am but lost the link every time it came to making the payment.
“Either my Internet connection was slow or the website jammed because of too many hits. I spent more than 30 minutes and gave up,” she said. Sumana’s husband “managed” the tickets himself, pulling a reverse swing on her.
For those who missed the bus, the only way to scoop up a seat at Eden is to work up “connections” in any of the 121 CAB-affiliated clubs or district associations. Each unit will approximately get 200 tickets for the match.