The One Day International cricket match between India and Australia hosted by the city more than two years ago is remembered not for exceptional performances but for the dejected fans of the game.
The sight of fans, who had come in blue t-shirts in support of the Men in Blue, pouring out of the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium after hours of futile wait remain etched in memory.
The match had to be abandoned even before a single ball was bowled due to damp playing conditions caused by overnight rain.
Though the city hosted a few home matches of the now suspended local team Kochi Tuskers in the Indian Premier League, fans had been waiting for a big match since that washed-away ODI in October 2010.
With stars of Indian and England teams descending on the city on Saturday for what’s going to be the first day-night international match in the city, the wait is finally over.
Joe, a ninth standard student at St. George High School, Edappally, and a promising cricketer at the Ernakulam District Cricket Academy, can hardly wait to witness the matchup between his favourite stars Yuvraj Singh and Kevin Pietersen on Tuesday. He will be definitely there at the stadium along with his friends from the Academy to cheer India with drums and flags.
Shiju, who never misses a game on television, is all set to watch his first match at the stadium. “Hopefully, rain will not play spoilsport,” he said with excitement.
Going by the ticket sales, the stadium is going to be packed to the rafters. One of the braches of Federal Bank, entrusted with ticket sales, is even contemplating the deployment of police personnel for crowd management.
Reasonable ticket fares have been cited as one of the reasons for the heavy response. Except for the premium chairs, vantage chairs and air-conditioned cubicles priced at Rs. 1,000, Rs. 2,000, and Rs. 3,000, respectively, the rest of the chair and gallery tickets are priced at Rs. 500 and Rs. 200 respectively.
Chair tickets can be bought by logging on to www.federalbank.co.in while gallery tickets will be available at Federal Bank branches. Counters will be opened at the stadium on Sunday and will be open till the morning of the match.
Now the wait is for the clock to tick 9 a.m. on Tuesday, when the gates will be opened for the spectators a good three hours before the start of the game.