If the last World Cup had its share of problems towards the end, this one seems to have got bad press at the initial stages itself. For starters, it has a Valium-induced schedule, which threatens to put off all the hype and interest generated © AFP

 

By Dhananjay Devasper

 

If the last World Cup had its share of problems towards the end, this one seems to have got bad press at the initial stages itself.

 

For starters, it has a Valium-induced schedule, which threatens to put off all the hype and interest generated.

 

Secondly there are too many non-performing teams bunched together under a format which can be labeled “boring” at best. To make matters worse, rules are made up to suit the hosts and provide them as much home advantage as possible. And if that was not enough, we now have the ticketing fiasco.

 

The administrators of the game seem to have forgotten the simple basic fact: cricket is about the fans, the folks who pay to go to stadium and cheer their heart out…The folks who wear their emotions on their sleeve and give the players an atmosphere like no other. It’s not about the cricket clubs and their coterie of “hangers-on” (read “chamchas”), who wait for a tournament like this to gather the spoils.

 

Let’s look at the math here with the World Cup final as an example. The Wankhede Stadium can accommodate 32,000 people which translate to as many tickets. Out of the 32,000, 20,000 are reserved for the MCA – a whopping 62.5%.These tickets are expected to be distributed among the various ticket clubs associated with the MCA. But are 20,000 tickets really required by the MCA? Even if this was capped at 5,000, there could have been 15,000 diehard cricket fans more, who could have watched the game in the stadium.

 

As it stands, 4,000 tickets are available. However, this cannot be booked since the ticketing website, Kyazoonga, has crashed every time it tried to sell the tickets. So Sharad Pawar and his cronies have to think of another way of ‘distributing’ these tickets. Am sure this will be done with complete ‘transparency’ and ‘honesty’.

 

It is criminal that the cricket administrators treat fans with such disdain. However, it is not surprising considering there’s a politician at the helm of things. The “chamcha” attitude is encouraged, and fans can go and watch the game at a sports bar. That too seems to be in limbo, thanks to the exorbitant charges from the channels broadcasting the game. Nowhere in the world, in a tournament of such magnitude, are the fans left out so bitterly in the cold – or heat, since this is the subcontinent.

 

This entire scenario reminds us of the movie, “Titanic”, where the rich and powerful were loaded onto the boats first, while the average folks were left to die. You have to be part of a circle, to get into the Wankhede for the final, or have a lot of money to buy it “in black”, from shady characters, who will be making merry on the day of the final. Most of these will be tickets “gifted” by the MCA, to a few “high and mighty” people who could care less for the game.

 

To add to the woes, even the ICC has dashed off a letter to the BCCI regarding ticketing issues. Does the BCCI need more global flogging to get it’s affairs in order?

 

This could have been a tournament for the fans of cricket, however it seems to be more of Pawar’s show of Power.

 

Stay Tuned…

 

(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)