It is always a very good experience to see your city progressing. For me, it was a nice experience visiting the Ekana International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow to buy tickets for Lucknow’s upcoming international cricket encounter. The feeling was good, but I feel that the tolerance and patience levels in Lucknow could be better. This becomes important when you are being watched globally as a new entrant in the international cricketing circuit.
It took me two days to finally get my hands on a ticket. Despite the chaos that unfolded, it was the love for the game that kept my friends and I waiting till we held those tickets in our hands.
When the ticket distribution started in the stadium, there was a lot of crowd over there; with everyone wanting a ticket, those present started to fight. With news making the rounds that a Rs. 450 ticket was being sold at Rs. 600, tempers ran high. On day 1, my friends and I returned empty handed. On day 2, we returned to the stadium again, and the same passion for the game was visible in the swelling crowds. I saw a lot of people queued up the line to buy the tickets. At first, I thought of not buying the ticket as standing in such a long queue was a very exhausting thing to do. But then, my passion for the game of cricket kept me standing over there, and I waited for almost two hours to get the tickets, and finally, I tasted sweet victory.
“I could have also booked one online but the student passes were available only offline and they were very cheap compared to other tickets. That’s why I preferred getting soaked in the sun, rather than sitting on the couch in my home to book the tickets,” said Jasmeet Singh, a local cricketing fan who is also a member of the band ‘The Living Fankaar’.
“I have been standing here from 10:00 am, but the queue is so long that I don’t think I will get the tickets and the problem is that there are only 1,000 tickets for students,” said Sudhir, a KKC Student.
After nearly 24 years, International cricket returns to Lucknow. The city will host the first International cricket match on November 6 when India will play against West Indies.
The last international match was played in Lucknow in 1994 when India beat Sri Lanka in a test match at KD Singh Babu Stadium.
The 50,000-capability Ekana stadium is equipped with two screens of 1,800 sq feet each, 40 VIP boxes, a media centre, a classy dressing room and a parking space for 2,500 vehicles. The stadium is located on Shaheed Path, which is well-connected with 5-star hotels and airport, therefore making it convenient for players.
The stadium has witnessed some domestic matches till now and this is the first International T-20 match to be played here.
The authorities partnered with Paytm and Insider.in for the sale of tickets. The prices ranged from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 23,000 per ticket.
For students, the prices were brought down to Rs. 450 because it’s tough for students to buy tickets for Rs. 1,500 or more. Thousand students were given a ticket at Rs. 450 if they had a verified college or university Id card and an Aadhar card.
Lucknow has already hosted Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy matches in the past. Last year, because of incomplete infrastructural conditions, the third ODI between New Zealand and India was pushed to Kanpur. While Lucknow has always been known for attributes such as tehzeeb, tameez, kayda and its architectural wonders, an international cricket stadium gives Lucknowites hope that Lucknow will get its fair place on the sports map of India.
I hope cricket fans in Lucknow celebrate Diwali a day before the rest of India will.