Small hotels score big as pitch fever soars in capital

It is sixer season for budget hospitality business in Ranchi.

The state government's wicket may have fallen, but outstation cricket-crazy fans are thronging the capital for its brand-new ODI innings ' the maiden India-England ODI on January 19 ' for which tickets will be up for grabs for four days starting Thursday.

Wednesday morning saw a huge surge of people, mostly from Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Calcutta and Cuttack, reaching Ranchi in the hope of buying the coveted tickets for the match and putting themselves up in budget hotels.

Of the 35,000 seats at International Cricket Stadium, Dhurwa, Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) is selling tickets for 19,000 ' the rest will be reserved ' which explains the mad scramble.

Tickets, priced at Rs 1,200, Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000, will be sold between 9am and 2pm from January 10 to 13 from 10 counters at the stadium complex in Dhurwa, 12km from the city.

This has heralded a festivity unlike any other witnessed by the capital so far. Call it the treasure hunt for the ODI ticket.

This has several steps, as groups of eager-beaver students, small-time businessmen and executives who have arrived in Ranchi on Monday morning, small overnight bags in tow, know well. One, catching the train, bus or own vehicle to the capital. Two, putting up in a budget hotel. Three, being the early bird in reaching Dhurwa stadium on Thursday and hoping to get the precious ticket within budget ' a student for instance who has saved up Rs 1,200 may find it difficult to get Rs 800 extra if the cheaper option runs out.

Step two spells a windfall for budget hotels ' around a dozen each near Ranchi station and Kanta Toli bus stand ' all chock-a-block with guests. Prominent ones such as Hotel Rajdhani, Maa Shree, Beena Inn, Swastik, Raj Palace, Ranchi Inn, Hotel Satkar and Bhagwati Lodge, with single and double rooms, AC and non-AC, can put up 30-35 guests. Price ranges between Rs 200 and 500-plus.

From the normal 50 per cent occupancy, the hotels are now bursting at their seams.

"We are full. In some rooms, we even agreed to squeeze in extra beds. But now, we have exhausted that option too," said an executive at Raj Palace Hotel.

"From the business point of view, this is the best time for us," said Rakesh Singh, an executive at Mata Shree Hotel. "We gave room bookings on first-come, first-serve basis. We don't know if rooms will be booked for a day, as people who don't get tickets on the first day will extend their stay," he pointed out.

"We have been turned away by three hotels near the station as none has a single room. We are students and can't afford posh hotels," rued Jamshedpur undergraduate Sushil Sharma, with five friends at Ranchi station around 11am.

Before reaching Ranchi, their plan of action was getting up at the crack of dawn on Thursday and heading to Dhurwa for tickets. But now, they are not sure whether they will get a hotel bed on Wednesday night.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Kolkata vs Bangalore

On Now: Kolkata vs Bangalore

IPL 7, GAME 11—Aaron's spell restricts Kolkata to 150-7. More »

Kolkata bowling vs Bangalore batting might

Kolkata bowling vs Bangalore batting might

The likely return of Gayle will boost Bangalore, but the result could be determined by Kolkata's bowlers. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »