All they want a ticket

Hundreds of cricket-lovers throng outlets hours before sale of World Cup tickets starts

Hours before the World Cup's tickets go on sale, cricket enthusiasts crowd the entrance to the City Bank branch on Panthapath in the capital. The photo was taken at 12:30am today.

A new year imbues people with hopes and dreams. And 2011, for any sports enthusiast in Bangladesh, holds only one dream, one hope: to secure tickets for the cricket World Cup.

All the hype surrounding the New Year is focused exclusively on the showpiece event slated to begin on February 19 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.The frenzy that has been whipped up by the tickets going on sale today was evident as early as yesterday morning. Thousands lined the streets in front of the designated ticket outlets for the prized piece of paper that will allow them to be a part of arguably the biggest global event held in these shores.

Among all this hope and expectation however a dark cloud lingers, one that the organisers will hope does not descend into an unabated downpour of hostility, which looks very much on the cards with the procession for tickets growing with the ticking of the clock.

With only about 100,000 tickets on offer for public for the six games to be played at Mirpur and a modest 29,000 for the two games at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, the demand is expected to overwhelm the supply.

Across the country, the fifty outlets of City Bank and thirty of Agrani Bank can only sell 480 tickets per day, and two tickets per person. This means that of the thousands queuing up at each branch, only 240 will go back home happy, leaving a large majority disgruntled.

Add to this a possible delay of more than three minutes to issue each ticket, and there could well be trouble on the horizon. In that event, it is the BCB who will be culpable, as they have failed to disseminate information among the masses in due time. The news of the issuing limitations has only filtered through at the eleventh hour, and that too from the banks, not the game’s governing body. Now, all they can do is stand with fingers crossed.

The wave of expectations for tickets is quite understandable. The closest Bangladesh came to hosting an event of such magnitude was the ICC mini World Cup in Dhaka in October 1998. Thirteen years on, Bangladesh will co-host the 2011 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka, and unlike in 1998 the national team will participate and more importantly the Tigers will play all their group matches on home soil, further escalating public expectations from the marquee event.

Bangladesh will host eight games including two quarterfinals. Besides, Bangabandhu National Stadium will host the opening ceremony of the tournament on February 17, when the whole cricketing world will be in attendance


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