Pakistan fans are eager to go beyond Delhi and Mohali

Khurram Habib

New Delhi, Dec. 6 -- When India host Pakistan for a short series starting later this month, their first bilateral contest since 2007, it won't be just Delhi that the Pakistan fans will flock to.

Their supporters are keen to travel even to venues like Chennai that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has requested for a quota of tickets for all the five match venues.

While the PCB has requested the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) to set aside 1000 common tickets and 100 for the VIPs, each of the other venues has been asked to set aside 500 tickets plus 50 for the VIPs.

"This time, the interest is very high in Pakistan. Usually, matches in Delhi and Mohali are attended by a lot of fans. But this is the first time we have had to reserve a large quota for all the games," said Nadeem Sarwar, the PCB spokesperson, who was here on a recce with his board's technical team. In all, it adds up to 3000 tickets plus the VIP quota.

The PCB wants its flock in one stand, and the DDCA officials are looking to oblige them.

"This is the first time they are requesting for a quota of tickets. We'll have a look at the denominations and then decide where to put them," said DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan.

Keeping track

Although the DDCA expect either the Pakistan president or prime minister to attend the final ODI at the Ferozshah Kotla on January 6, the PCB did not confirm.

The request for a quota and selling of the tickets through the PCB may help them keep track of the spectators.

They would want to avoid a repeat of 2005 when a few fans had disappeared, only to be arrested later for overstaying.

The Indian board has accepted DDCA's request the day-night tie early - at 12 noon. "During that time of the year, the dew will be very high, so we had to advance the timing like they are doing in Mohali," Chauhan said.

BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer, Ratnakar Shetty, and Suru Naik, head of cricket operations, were also present at the Kotla.

The short series has raised hopes that the BCCI would at some point agree to a full series. The two faced off last in 2007, when Pakistan toured for a Test series.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.