Ticket fiasco as fans locked out of near-empty Nagpur stadium
Fans without tickets were turned away from Scotland's World T20 match against Zimbabwe at the VCA stadium in Nagpur today, as there are no ticketing facilities available at the ground.
The tickets for the match are priced at 100 rupees for the East and West stands and 200 rupees for behind the bowler's arm (approx £1.10 and £2.20 respectively). However, many supporters were obliged to travel back to the old VCA stadium in central Nagpur to purchase their tickets, meaning that that those that chose to do so were forced to miss much of the contest.
The current stadium, which was inaugurated in 2008 and has a capacity of 45,000, lies 20km outside the city centre, a journey time of approximately 40 minutes by auto-rickshaw. However, the main ticketing system remains still situated at the old venue. A VCA official said it was not possible to have ticketing at both grounds.
The BCCI, who declined to comment, are in overall charge of the ticketing policy for the tournament, but the arrangements for each match are at the discretion of the individual state associations. Dharamsala, the other venue that has so far hosted matches, has chosen to sell tickets for the qualifying rounds at the gate.
The VCA spokesman added that advertisements for the ticketing policy had been placed in local papers but was unable to explain why the information had not been passed on to the BCCI or ICC, so they could warn fans who were travelling in from other grounds.
The atmosphere inside the stadium, which came in for heavy criticism on the opening day of the tournament, was marginally improved for today's contest, thanks to an influx of some 250 children from nearby schools. However, approximately 100 fans remained locked out of the ground at the start of Zimbabwe's innings. The venue is too remote to support any local pubs or cafes in which to watch the contest, or to access the ICC's online ticket-booking service that could have resolved the issue.
"We love cricket, which is why we are here even in this heat to watch Scotland take on Zimbabwe," one group of college students from Nagpur told ESPNcricinfo. "But we can't book online because of the network and the ticket sales are going on at the other ground. There's so few people in, why can't they just let us in. We are even willing to pay at the gate."
One group of Scotland fans, who encountered similar problems during Tuesday's opening round of fixtures, including Scotland's defeat against Afghanistan, had been mistakenly informed that they could buy their tickets at their hotel.
Privately ICC officials are frustrated that common sense has not been used, especially with the already low turn out for these matches.
Jarrod Kimber is a writer for ESPNcricinfo. @ajarrodkimber