Mohali (Punjab) : Blame it on visa restrictions, emergency in Pakistan or the high price tag, but more than 100 of the 250 tickets for the India-Pakistan match here sent to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for sale among cricket fans there have remained unsold.
This would mean that the bonhomie between India and Pakistan seen in recent years, especially during cricket matches when scores of fans crossed the border on either side, would not be seen this time for Thursday’s One-Day International (ODI) match at Mohali.
“We have information that the PCB has been able to sell only 144 tickets. The remaining 106 tickets have been sent back to us and will be sold here Tuesday,” Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) president I.S. Bindra announced here Monday.
He said the main reason for poor ticket sales in Pakistan was the strict condition attached by the PCB and the Indian High Commission that visas would be granted only to those who had a confirmed hotel booking in Chandigarh or Mohali.
“Also the visa being given was only for air travel and not to cross the Wagah-Attari border. How many people can come by air for the match?” Bindra asked.
The PCA had about 100 guests coming from Pakistan for the match.
All the 250 tickets sent by the PCA were of the much sought after terrace block – the enclosure that gives the best view in the PCA’s magnificent stadium here, 10 km from Chandigarh. Each ticket on this block is priced at Rs.5,000.
“We have so much demand for the terrace block tickets here. We will put up these 106 tickets for gate sale Tuesday,” Bindra said.
The PCA chief agreed that this time there would be no scenes of scores of Pakistani fans being ferried by Indian authorities from the Attari border, 30 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, to Chandigarh by road – a total distance of more than 300 km.
On previous occasions, the fans used to put up at homes of people volunteering to host them in Chandigarh, Mohali or Panchkula or at local hotels.