Blame the heat for JSCA’s Sunday box office poor show. But, all the ardour isn’t fried and finished.
As the offline mode of ticket sales for Ranchi’s twin IPL matches began, counters at the world-class cricket stadium in Dhurwa wore a deserted look from morning till afternoon. Officials, however, insisted that the response wasn’t bad though they would need time to spell out exact sales figures.
JSCA spokesperson Manoj Kumar said actual ticket marketing figures were available with the CSK franchisee alone. “Both online and offline windows have opened, and we are yet to receive compiled numbers. Around 30,000 tickets are up for sale, the rest (around 10,000) will be passes,” he added.
After a deserved seven-month break, the JSCA greens are once again readying to hog international limelight. The state cricket outfit, which hosted some 10 super shows including ODI, IPL and T20 Champions League ties till September 2013, is slated to conduct two IPL-7 matches next month.
On May 2, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will play Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) from 8pm; on May 13, CSK will take on Shane Watson’s Rajasthan Royals (RR) from 4pm.
In IPL-6, Dhurwa was KKR’s second home turf; this time it is CSK’s. JSCA officials are understandably upbeat over preparations.
“We expect an audience surge because of Dhoni. The May 2 match will be like a Friday blockbuster,” an official said, adding that the Ranchi tie would also mark IPL-7’s return to India from Abu Dhabi. “That will also have a positive bearing.”
With less than a week left for the high-octane pitch battle, stadium preparations have hit the fast track.
“A small army of workers are cleaning the entire premises — galleries, toilets et al. Gardens are being manicured and damaged flowerpots replaced by new ones. Carpentry work is on at special lounges, VIP boxes,” JSCA spokesperson Manoj Kumar said.
On the ground, four pitches are being readied for IPL-7. Two will be exclusively for practice.
“The exact nature of pitch will be known by April 30. We are expecting the first match to be a high-scoring one. The harsh sun has made the pitch harder. It is soaking gallons of water and needing aggressive rolling. It is expected to get even harder, which will add bounce to the wicket while at the same time be suited for strokes,” a senior groundsman said on the condition of anonymity.
The do-up for international players is not restricted to the pitch. A special footbridge will connect their dressing room to the oval area, the practice venue outside the main ground in the stadium complex, this time.
An official said it would be functional in the next couple of days.
“The objective of the bridge is to avoid commotion or bulldozing of players and VIPs by fans. Until last time, players had to walk down through the lounge to the practice venue and were often mobbed by young people for photographs and autographs. It takes a toll on concentration,” he added.
Traffic SP Rajeev Ranjan, meanwhile, visited the stadium on Sunday morning to do a recce of vehicle arrangements.
“This time, we are trying to set up a centralised helpline for traffic issues. Unlike normal billboards, all entry gates will bear a unique number. Anyone facing problem in identifying routes to the stadium or facing parking harassment can immediately dial for help. Modalities are still to be worked out,” he said.