LAHORE: Many enthusiastic cricket fans had to return home on Tuesday without getting hold of any tickets for the World XI-Pakistan T20 games, scheduled to be played here at the Gaddafi Stadium during the next week.

People gathering for the purchase of tickets for the T20 games at the Liberty Chowk and Lalik Chowk here waited for hours for the General Stand tickets worth Rs500 but failed to get any tickets and resorted to chanting slogans and raised placards against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

In fact, doors of the ticket booths were completely shut and sealed at the two busy areas of the city here and the people were obviously looking quite agitated at that. “I have been standing here since 9.00am,” said a middle-aged man at the Liberty Chowk.

“I have been to the Gaddafi Stadium and back quite a few times in search of the tickets but there aren’t any available. The authorities had informed us that the tickets would go on sale at 9.00 in the morning but the booths have not opened for ticket sale,” he said angrily.

What has exacerbated the situation further is the unavailability of the General Stand tickets which are the only ones affordable for the common man since the other enclosure tickets range between Rs2,500 and Rs8,000.

“People responsible for selling the tickets are telling us that the Rs500 tickets are not available any more. My financial circumstances do not allow me to spend more than that on a ticket,” said another fan.

“The place for the booth is yet to be finalised, we have put it here on a temporary basis,” a logistics officer for eticketing.pk, the PCB’s ticketing partner, said. “Meetings are underway to finalise a definite location. The tickets would not go on sale before tomorrow here at the Liberty Market.”

Asked to comment on the situation, PCB media manager Raza Kitchlew said: “The Lahore Deputy Commissioner Office had asked us to put the tickets sale in the Liberty and Lalik areas on hold for security reasons. He first wants to lay down a security plan as there will be cash involved and the areas will be crowded.”

When probed further as to why the booths at the Packages Mall and Emporium Mall were only selling high-priced tickets for the matches, Raza said: “All of the General Stand tickets have been sold out.”

The tickets for the first T20I were put online for sale about five days ago but not many people have been able to purchase them so far. According to sources, about 35 per cent of the General Stand tickets still remain unsold. The sources went on to add that this could well be a strategy from the organisers to get only the high-priced tickets sold.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2017

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