Who’s coming to Mohali for World Cup? Not fans

February 25th, 2011 - 10:55 am ICT by IANS  

By Alkesh Sharma
Mohali (Punjab), Feb 25 (IANS) The top class PCA Stadium here always sees a rush of spectators for international matches. But surprisingly, not even 1,000 tickets have been sold in four days for two World Cup league matches next month, say officials.The absence of big team clashes and the cricket schedule clashing with school board exams seem to have left fans disappointed.

The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium will host the South Africa-Netherlands match March 3 and the West Indies-Ireland match March 11. Ticket sales started at select branches of the Central Bank of India here and at PCA’s counters Feb 21.

“There used to be long queues outside the ticket window, but this time the fervour is missing. Most of the tickets have been sold only for the student block and general block,” a senior official of the Central Bank of India, Sector 17 branch, told IANS.

“Earlier we used to be out of stock on the very first day or in the first two days of ticket sale. But this time the response from the public has been very disappointing. Wrong timing of the matches and inferior teams have dampened the spirits.”

Ticket counters for the second semi-final March 30 have not opened yet.

League match tickets are available for the stadium’s AC lounge, pavilion terrace, north pavilion, VIP block, chair block and student block. But in the four days till Thursday not even 1,000 tickets had been sold.

The PCA stadium is considered one of the most ultra-modern stadia in the country and it has a pitch with a reputation for being lively and with something both for batsmen and bowlers. Built in 1992, it can easily accommodate 28,000 spectators.

Fans are, however, eyeing the semi-final match, which will be played under floodlights.

“I have seen all the matches at PCA in the last 10 years, but this time I have to miss the action as my board exams are from March 1 to 22. My parents won’t allow me to go the stadium. But I will certainly go to see the semi-final,” Anmol Sharma, a Class 12 student, told IANS.

Saloni Bhasin, another cricket fan, said: “We were expecting at least one league match, featuring India, Pakistan, Australia or England at the PCA stadium. But matches here do not have any big team and nobody is interested in wasting time on them. We pray that India would reach the semi-finals so that we can go to the stadium to see that match.”

PCA officials are hoping ticket sales will pick up in the coming days.

“As compared to other big centres of the country, the response of the public is usually good at PCA. We are optimistic that at least 20,000 tickets would be sold,” said I.S. Bindra, the PCA president.

“Besides an ICC (International Cricket Council) agency has tied up with select schools to bring students to the stadium. We would provide 5,000 tickets that would be distributed free of cost among students.”

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