Exactly 15 years ago M. Chinnaswamy Stadium witnessed a memorable contest. India doused the fire of a combative Pakistan by 39 runs and entered the semi-finals of the 1996 World Cup to trigger delirious delight among Bangalore fans.
On that warm summer night, the stadium reminded you of Diwali with crackers going off and strangers hugging each other.
Circa 2011, the fans were again treated to a cracker of a contest when India and England played out a dramatic tie in the Group ‘B' league. The match, embellished by centuries from Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Strauss, went down the wire with a last-ball verdict. Whenever a One-dayer involves India here, there is an overwhelming demand for tickets. What soured the pitch, however, was that demand outstripped supply. The precious 7,500 tickets available at the counters were sold out in a jiffy. And that was when all hell broke loose. Barricades were broken and angry fans were caned by overzealous police.
The mess was waiting to happen the moment the KSCA took on the task of hosting the match after the ICC nixed the tie from Kolkata. The pre-booking commitments issued in Kolkata had to be honoured, besides meeting the demands of the England fans and the ICC. A chunk of tickets in the 38,000-seater stadium went to sponsors and government agencies, leaving the expectant spectators outside.
One solution is to cut down on the ‘complimentary' tickets being doled out to government agencies, sponsors and advertisers. The major portion of the public sale of tickets could be done online and by lottery system as is being done in the semi-final and final of the World Cup.
Lastly, heed Kumble's remark on transparency: “It is not easy to change things within a month or two.”