Eden sales feel the blues - Few takers for tickets and merchandise for three city matches; examinees and mothers fight over TV remote

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By RITH BASU AND SAIONEE CHAKRABORTY
  • Published 5.03.11
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World Cup, what World Cup?

Eden Gardens has sold tickets worth Rs 3,95,000 to affiliated clubs and district associations. That adds up to around 564 tickets — for all three matches.

The sales figures at A.H. Sports at Maidan Market are just as abysmal. Lucky has hardly been able to sell “two to four jerseys” a day since the Cup began. “It has been a huge loss for us… match hota hai toh bahut logon ka pet chalta hai (a match here means financial sustenance for many),” he rues.

By “match”, Lucky means a Team India match at the Eden. That’s what Surajit Naskar, the assistant joint secretary of the CAB, also meant when he said: “I have never seen anything like this before.” He was referring to the lack of ticket sales for the three Cup matches — March 15 (Ireland vs South Africa), March 18 (Ireland vs Netherlands) and March 20 (Kenya vs Zimbabwe).

“Two days (Thursday and Friday) were allotted to the 121 affiliated units, including first and second division clubs and district associations, to buy their quota of tickets. But most of them picked up only their complementary Club House tickets,” said Naskar. So will Eden 64,500 go practically empty in cricket-crazy Calcutta? “No one wants empty stands. We would probably be issuing complementary tickets to youngsters who play in the different CAB tournaments,” said CAB joint secretary Sujan Mukherjee. And maybe free tickets to all those who donated blood at the CAB on Frank Worrell Day!

But even that might not be enough to lure cricket followers to the Eden. “None of our members wants a ticket,” admitted Ranajit Dey, treasurer of the Bankura association. Gopal Ganguly of Dhakuria Friends’ Athletic Club and Runu Ghosh of Taltola Institute echoed the Bankura line.

Even East Bengal has not bothered to collect its quota. “Had the England-India match been played here, you would have felt a real buzz. But now no one wants a ticket to the Eden,” said cricket secretary Sadananda Mukherjee.

Not many seem to want a Sachin Tendulkar poster either, as it hangs forlorn in the Oberoi Grand arcade. “If there was an India match in Calcutta, I would have sold at least 600 Sachin posters,” says hawker Sankar Prasad, who has managed to push barely 30 in 10 days.