Cricket stars land in Kochi for India-England dust-up; tickets are flying off the shelves as the game comes to the city five years after the last ODI was played here

Fans and performing artists had to endure nearly a two-hour wait for the India and England cricket stars at the Kochi international airport at Nedumbassery on Saturday evening. But they did not mind.

The long wait – the flight from Rajkot arrived nearly an hour late – seemed to be worth it as the fans, nearly 1,500, cheered the arriving stars and pulled out mobile phones to capture the arrival.

Team India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a word with a kathakali artist, which was quickly captured by the media shutterbugs hungry for photo opportunity.

A 200-strong police force was present at the airport but it did not have to strain much despite the big crowd.

With a couple of other flights also landing around the same time, many preferred to wait and catch a glimpse of the cricketers.

The two teams will have a practice session at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday – India at 11 a.m. and England from 1.30 p.m. – which will not be open to the public.

The tickets for the one-day international at the stadium, which begins at noon on January 15, have been flying off the shelves and according to the Kerala Cricket Association, the ticket sales have brought in Rs. 1.1 crore till Saturday evening. A major portion of the chairs have been sold and gallery tickets too are vanishing fast. The ticket counters at the stadium will be open on Sunday and Monday.

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