It was a nightmare for thousands of cricket fans who braved rain and descended on the Gymkhana Ground on Thursday morning with the hope of purchasing tickets for the T-20 international match between India and Australia at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on September 25.
Only a handful of them could purchase tickets as only two counters were put up initially and the others faced the brunt of the stampede that ensued as crowds began swelling and when the cops resorted to lathi charge to control them.
Seven persons were injured and taken to a hospital in Secunderabad. While two were discharged after administration of first aid, others have been admitted for further treatment, according to a senior representative of the hospital.
Many female fans, who were standing in the queue since early morning, were seen holding kids in their arms.
“We don’t think they even sold 100 tickets at the two counters even after two hours of wait after the sale began at 10.00 am today,” the fans alleged.
“It was a clear case of poor handling of ticket sales by the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA). Online transactions would have been more viable and easier for everyone,” many fans complained. “We came here to buy tickets not to face this kind of treatment. We blame the HCA for this complete mess. It is a pity that the president was a former India captain,” said another irate fan who was trapped in the chaos.
Former BCCI President N. Shivlal Yadav condemned the incident and it was unfortunate that the fans had to face such a situation. “Things could have been handled in a far more efficient manner,” he said.
HCA officials summoned by Sports Minister
The media release from HCA late on Wednesday evening did not give the exact break-up of either the pricing of different denominations. Unlike the past, tickets were on sale at the same centre for both Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Online sale of tickets was not provided.
In a related development, Telangana Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud, summoned the HCA officials, including the president Mohammad Azharuddin, to his official chambers late in the evening to seek an explanation about the whole issue.
“This is a total failure of the HCA and despite being warned about the likelihood of issues like this cropping up, they didn’t bother to take corrective measures,” he said.
None of the top brass of the HCA had visited the Gymkhana Ground while the chaos was underway.
Late in the evening, HCA officials declared that no more tickets were available and all those who were waiting till 3.30 p.m. were sent back.