Decision To Make Fifth-day Test Tickets Free Vindicated As Cricket Faces Up To The Reality Of Its Fans


As thousands file into Trent Bridge on this sunny Tuesday morning for what promises to be a thrilling final day, Nottinghamshire’s inspired, intelligent decision to throw the doors open free of charge was vindicated. Nottinghamshire announced the decision in the […]

As thousands file into Trent Bridge on this sunny Tuesday morning for what promises to be a thrilling final day, Nottinghamshire’s inspired, intelligent decision to throw the doors open free of charge was vindicated.

Nottinghamshire announced the decision in the evening tickets for cricket session yesterday and a few hours later were scrambling for extra stewards and volunteers as demand exceeded expectation; shortly after 10pm, they confirmed that all 17,063 tickets had been snapped up (how many of those would show up is another matter).

The call tapped into the cricketing zeitgeist on two fronts; the first is that cricket’s wider affordability and accessibility are under the microscope. At a time when the cost of living is spiralling out of control, ticket prices were a major contributing factor to empty seats at Lord’s last week, which embarrassed the MCC; early indications are that they have learnt from a lesson, but let’s see how they price things next year.

Nottinghamshire have learnt from the past, as Lord’s needs to. In 2018, India went into the final day, a Wednesday, requiring just one English wicket to win. Until the morning, Notts were sticking to a plan of charging £10 for entry. “We’ve slept on the day five pricing policy and, frankly, we got it wrong,” they admitted, while performing a u-turn. It was fortunate, given it took just 17 deliveries for India to wrap up the win.

This week, they may reflect that tickets for Monday were too expensive, but the first three days were sold out. Their decision to forego a few pounds of ticket sales today has benefits beyond simple kudos, too. With a long day in store, the many food and drink outlets should see business flow. And, crucially, they will have the data of thousands of new fans who can be contacted about tickets for all future cricket at Trent Bridge.

The ticket price debate is not exclusive to internationals. The Vitality Blast is having a torrid summer. In the Hundred era, it has been given little chance of thriving, with fixtures packed tightly together in the summer holidays and only having a short on-sale period.

But there are still issues of the counties’ making; 14 matches per team is simply too many, and counties have got greedy with their pricing. Most southern counties want upwards of £30 for a ticket.

The second reason is this nascent England regime have promised to entertain. In their response to conceding 553 in the first innings, they have still looked to win, and are promising to attempt to chase down whatever New Zealand throw at them today (their lead was 238 overnight, with three wickets in hand).

“We will go for anything,” said Stuart Broad. “Whatever comes our way we are going to have a look at”.

It is all a far cry from just 12 months ago, when England batted out for a draw against the same opposition at Lord’s, with the equation a sporting 273 from 75 overs. For a young England side missing its biggest hitters, on a losing streak of three (little did they know that record was soon to become one win in 17), it was a safety-first decision, but it became an emblem of their passive, fearful cricket.

How would that team have responded to the opposition racking up 553? Well, day five probably would not have been a concern for Nottinghamshire. They certainly would not have rollicked along at 4.2 an over, and would have been pretty unlikely to reverse-scoop a batter’s second ball of the day for six, as the liberated Joe Root did yesterday.

Win, lose or draw – and the noises emanating from the dressing room suggest draws are not really their thing – this new England team are intent on entertaining. For Nottinghamshire to give more people the chance to watch them can only be a good thing.

Register now for one of the Evening Standard’s newsletters. From a daily news briefing to Homes & Property insights, plus lifestyle, going out, offers and more. For the best stories in your inbox, click here.

Barabati T20I: Rampant Misuse Of Passes For ‘ruling Party Netas’ Leaves Cricket Fans Deprived!

When the Barabati stadium hosts an international cricket match, it is nothing less of a festival for cricket lovers of Odisha. Fans can go to any limits to get their hands on a ticket. But not every fan is lucky as a lot of them have to return empty-handed with a limited number of tickets available for sale.

But, when the same fans learn that passes were allegedly granted to almost all the close ones of the ruling party politicians denying them the excitement to watch the India Vs South Africa T20 international match from the stands, they expressed disgust and anger, quite justifiable.

As per the allegations, many unauthorised persons gained their entry to the Barabati stadium to watch the cricket match through VIP passes issued by the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) in the name of ‘Volunteers’.

It has been alleged that the OCA showed extraordinary sympathy for the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders and their supporters to issue them passes by creating separate categories like, ‘BJD Volunteer’ & ‘MLA Crew’, the pictures of which were uploaded by many such ‘VIP’ pass holders displaying the passes proudly in the social media platforms.

A cricket fan who left the ticket counter without any ticket after spending hours in the queue said, “I am fine with the fact that I did not get a ticket, but I was livid when I saw the stooges of local politicians shared their ‘VIP’ passes with so much proud in the social media.”

Cricket in India is treated as a religion and the State of Odisha and its cricket fans are no exception. Such allegations are naturally going to upset the real cricket fans who could not see their favourite cricket stars from the stadium.

Former Joint Secretary of OCA, Sanjeev Dutt said, “This situation is a direct result of the mismanagement by the accreditation officials of the OCA. They neglected their duty and it should be investigated.”

The Barabati stadium has a seating capacity of 44,000, out of which only 17,000 (5000 online & 12000 offline) tickets were sold by the OCA. The affiliated agencies received 8,000 tickets, and other corporate received 4000 tickets. And the rest, 20000 tickets were distributed as passes.

The issue became even more interesting after the CEO of the OCA, Subrat Behera denied allegations of fake passes and tickets being used to gain entry into the stadium. “We had deployed ticket validators at each gate equipped with barcode scanners. So there is absolutely no chance of anyone entering the stadium with a fake ticket or pass,” said

“We have not issued any passes to anybody by mentioning political party names. Whoever is claiming to have received such a pass is trying to tarnish OCA’s image,” Behera said.

While the social media posts by such pass holders are in abundance, it is yet to be seen if the authorities deem it fit to launch an investigation in this connection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *