New Delhi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is set to return tickets for the first three matches against India, worth around Rs 9,00,000, to its Indian counterpart as there is no time left for fans to secure visas for the series beginning on Tuesday in Bangalore.
A top PCB source said on Sunday that tickets for the two T20 Internationals and the first One-day International reached the Lahore headquarters of the Board on Friday, but it was too late for fans to secure visas and book hotel rooms in the few days left for the series to begin.
“We are going to return the tickets to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and a final decision to this effect will be taken by the PCB on Monday,” the source told MAIL TODAY. “The Indian High Commission in Islamabad had told us that it would take seven to ten days to process visas. Now, with a couple of days left for the first T20 International in Bangalore, how can fans get visas, and book their flight tickets and hotel rooms and still reach there in this short time?” he wondered.
"Further, hotel rooms are not available in sufficient numbers. We’ve found out that the hotels that the BCCI has suggested to us don’t have enough rooms. We’ve again requested the BCCI to send us a list of five, four, and three-star hotels so that fans could have a place to stay.”
The PCB source said that fans would also miss the second T20 International in Ahmedabad and the first ODI in Chennai. PCB has got 300 tickets each for first three matches. “The total cost of the tickets comes to around Rs 9,00,000. But that quantum of money is not so important; the sad part is that Pakistani fans, who were looking forward to the resumption of the bilateral series after five years, would miss the matches,” he emphasised.
The tickets for the second and third ODIs, in Kolkata and Delhi respectively, have still not been dispatched to the BCCI by the respective associations, to be couriered to the PCB headquarters.
A Cricket Association Bengal official said that the tickets would be couriered to the PCB only after it sends a list of fans who are seeking tickets. The Delhi and District Cricket Association too hasn’t dispatched the tickets to the BCCI for its onward journey to Lahore, thanks to its officials’ preoccupation with the annual elections.
The PCB source said that fans are relentlessly calling up the Board’s Lahore headquarters for the delay in delivering tickets.
“Fans here think that the PCB is not providing tickets to the three agents that the Board has appointed for this purpose. So, they’ve been calling the PCB offices for the tickets while the reality is that we didn’t have the tickets until Friday,” he pointed out.
All this means that the pressure has shifted to Delhi. All those fans who would not be able to make it to the other venues now want to watch the third and final ODI at the Ferozeshah Kotla. “We have requested the BCCI for about 3,000 tickets for the Delhi ODI, besides 500 tickets for the PCB guests. Let’s see how many do we get finally,” said the PCB source.
A DDCA official said that when the PCB recce visited the Kotla on December 6, the official had asked us to keep about 5,000 tickets in the various stands of the stadium.
The PCB source also disclosed that the BCCI had cancelled the New Year bash it had planned in Chennai on December 31, as reported in MAIL TODAY on October 8. “We told the BCCI that it would be more convenient if the function is organised in Delhi where our VIP guests could also attend it. So, the BCCI has cancelled the Chennai function, but they haven’t told us if it will be held in Delhi,” he said.