India vs Australia: Indore, with an eye outdoors prepares for 3rd ODI

A young, well-built man walks into the stadium, claims he is close to a minister, and lands his complaint: That he has got only 40 passes, and wants more. “Ab batao, itne ticket sey kya hoga? I need more!” he mutters. Elsewhere in the stadium, the curator sighs in relief as the skies cleared up on Saturday after two gloomy rain-drenched weeks.
The two reactions, clamour for free passes and hope for sun, have been the top two sentiments at the Holkar Stadium in the last couple of weeks. The craziest development, though, has been the appearance of the ticket at the ‘OLX’ website, of all places. Such has been the demand that someone thought it would be the best way to dispose his ticket at a premium.
But the happiest and most positive sign of them all was a two-kilometre-long queue of cricket fans in pursuit of that ticket. Indore has been one of the real cricket-crazy venues in recent times. They packed the stadium even for a Test match, the stadium’s first, against New Zealand.
On Saturday, more than 3,000 teenagers waited outside the stadium to get a glimpse of the Indian team, which had come to train. Many youngsters bunked their college and some had taken half-day to just stand outside for hours to wave at the team bus. The local authorities have no choice other than sometime to use their ‘lathi’ to control these crowds. Contrary to normal practice, public weren’t allowed inside to view the practice.
The Holkar Stadium, in the heart of the tier-three city, has a capacity of 28,000 – 17,500 were sold out from the ticketing window. The Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association officials had also planned to sell tickets online but the website strangely crashed.
As a result, two days were allotted to sell window tickets. “People stood for 36 hours in rain to get tickets. We wanted to keep two days for window tickets but such was a line the association decided to sell all their tickets on first come first serve basis,” informs one official.
Status symbol
To be in Holkar Stadium this Sunday is a ‘status symbol’. Those who want free passes often demand car passes too. The local authorities want their share of tickets for ‘Bade babu’. And many in the association say that those who cry for free passes do it so to show it off to their friends and relatives. And reports have been published about a petition in the lower court against MPCA for fraud in regards of selling of tickets for this game.
The high-profile game has made life difficult for the MPCA officials. There are people who want their relatives to be given a volunteer role. People want passes with best views—next to the cricketers’ dressing rooms that is. The officials say they are wary of the local press also— if they aren’t given additional tickets for families, the officials fear that bad press might hit them. Then there are the all-powerful local authorities who have to be appeased.
A MPCA official said, just four days before the IPL game this year, the local authorities had sealed the stadium for failing to pay property tax for 2016-17 financial season. Even as the official is talking, the young muscular man arrives saying he needs more than 40 tickets.
Whoever gets in on Sunday can look forward to a good game. The bowlers have won India the two games so far, and the focus will be certainly on two individuals — Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey. Jadhav had been getting starts but failed to convert. However, Pandey, who has shown great potential, will certainly look to break the run-drought.
Though the team looks strong, they are yet to find the number four candidate in the lead to World Cup. The selectors ventured to look beyond the ageing likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ambati Rayudu, and Suresh Raina to give ample chances to youngsters and it’s high time Pandey or Jadhav seized them with both hands.

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