Harbhajan Singh tours the international cricket stadium in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Expect an electrifying atmosphere and energetic cheers when M.S. Dhoni takes on Alastair Cook at the maiden ODI in Ranchi next week.
If JSCA officials are to be believed, all the 19,000 general tickets — priced at Rs 1,200, 1,500 and 2,000 — were sold out by Friday, even two days before the counters close.
The 3000-odd donor tickets — available for Rs 10,000, Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 — however, didn’t find many takers.
Sanjay Singh, a JSCA organising committee member, said they would keep only a couple of counters out of 10 open for the weekend. “As promised, we have sold all the 19,000 common gallery tickets. So, one or two counters will be kept open for sale of donor tickets,” Singh said.
Cricket fans, many of whom queued up for the second consecutive day, were understandably disappointed.
“I came and stood in line at 6am today (Friday). But after the counters opened at 9am, I was told that there were no low-range tickets. Yesterday, I was turned away because I did not have my disability papers attested properly,” rued Sudhir Pal (35), a resident of Karamtoli.
Samir Das, an executive with a private firm, took the day off to get ODI tickets for himself and his four friends. But, luck was not on their side.
“In a stadium that has a capacity of 35,000, why only 19,000 tickets for the common man. I don’t understand the logic,” Das, both dejected and annoyed, said.
His friend Sumati Singh, a postgraduate student of fashion designing, said all the five of them stood in separate queues to try their individual luck. “Yet, by the time we reached our respective counters, the tickets were gone,” she said.
While it was chaos outside, the international stadium hosted — albeit for a brief while — its first star visitor.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, fondly known as Bhajji among fans, took a tour around noon. Later, JSCA officials said the he was impressed with the facility. “Harbhajan was very happy with the ground, the gym and lounge,” said Sanjay Singh.
Manoj Kumar, media in-charge of JSCA, said they had also inked a deal with Oriental Insurance for covering match liabilities. “A cover of around Rs 4 crore has been taken in order to pay back people in case the match is called off owing to unavoidable reasons like rain,” said.