Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Faisalabad October 22, 2004

A battle to watch the Test

Wisden Cricinfo staff



Some people managed to get in ... and then find ways of quickly getting kicked-out again © AFP
While Pakistan were battling Sri Lanka inside Faisalabad's Iqbal Stadium, outside angry supporters demonstrated about the way ticket sales for the game were being handled.

On Thursday, a sizable crowd - mainly described as students by Dawn newspaper - started queuing outside the stadium several hours before the start. Although the authorities did start selling tickets, after a half an hour they closed the booths, leaving hundreds of would-be spectators unable to gain access.

The angry crowd quickly grew restless, accusing the administrators of only selling tickets to their own favourites. They chanted anti-board slogans, and the police quickly moved to dispurse the gathering. Eyewitnesses said that several people were jostled and struck.

The organisation surrounding the game has been the subject of considerable local criticism, with reports of ticket holders being unable to gain admission because of draconian security measures.

The Pakistan Cricket Board denied the report, insisting that the ticket booths stayed open until 4pm. "There was no law and order problem," a spokesman said. "Some students, both girls and boys were even permitted free entry to enjoy the match.

"The security had to be accorded high priority to avoid any untoward incident," he continued. "However no, repeat no, ticket-holder was denied entry into the stadium because of security control or any other reason."

With the ground barely one-quarter full on the first three days, it was kind of adverse publicity the organisers and PCB could have done without.