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Tickets, Only for the Rich

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An angry fan in Mumbai.

An angry fan in Mumbai. But if you are rich, you can get into Wankhede stadium. In black the price of ticket went from Rs 90,000 to Rs 1,20,000 for India-Lanka finals.

Now its almost the whole of India is on a celebration…. A world cup victory which will be cherished by every Indian cricket worshipers for a long time in their memories. There are already thousands of writings on the blogs about this victory, about every match and ball by ball analysis are out there. This post is not on the same line. This is all about the fan behavior on the stands in the matches hosted in India and the money greedy attitude of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India).

As a fan I watched almost all the matches, even the matches played between the so called cricket minnow’s. I noticed a wide difference in the fan behavior between the matches played in India and the matches played at the other hosts Bangladesh and Srilanka. In the last two decades Indian galleries were known for vibrant celebrations, gang performances, rhythmic claps, Posters with mid-blowing writing, drums and pipes, sky rocking whistles and in places like Eden Gardens fireworks by fans were not a surprise after the match. But in this world cup the crowd on the Indian gallery were bit lazy, almost sitting comfortably throughout the 100 overs and voices were heard only during 4’s & 6’s or on an opposition wicket. This is not the usual Indian gallery. Next to the Caribbean, Indian stands are known for unorthodox celebrations, something very opposite to England (The Lord’s culture, where people just clap and sit straight as if they are posing for a passport photograph).

On the other side it was terrific in Lanka & Bangladesh, Matches in Colombo were full of sound. Drums and pipes, Dance and fun filled the stands, The sinhalese chorus tracks were often sung, And there were so many posters with brainy and funny messages displayed towards the TV camera and the players. Dhaka was a surprise. Bangladesh hosting the Cricket World cup for the first time, the Bangla emotions were excellent, something similar to their brothers in West Bengal. Bangladeshi fans showed more facial’s than the srilankans. Almost one out of 10 fans in Dhaka will have a Green-Red facial to showcase the support for the Bangla tigers. Bangla drums were like thunders even in Television audio.


The Lankan delight (click on the picture to expand)



The Bangla Colours (click on the picture to expand)

But the Indian fans were exhibiting a shift towards the English culture were cricket is watched with an illusion filled gentle-decency with a colonial juice. This is a strange behavior from the same galleries which produced a rhythmic beat when the great Kapil Dev runs-up with his stylish bowling action, Remember the girl with a poster saying “Zaheer I love U” in the Ind-Pak test in Bangalore. A decade back drums will be tear your eardrum when Sachin-Sourav pair make a solid start. More & More we can list. But this world cup showed a different Indian fan inside the stadium.

There is a change in the fan behavior, but its not because of the viewer’s attitude, Its all because the economic class of people who can afford to get a place in the gallery has changed. Yes the 2011 World cup’s tickets in India were much much higher than the usual ODI’s. Its not the case in Srilanka and Bangladesh. In Chennai the Highest being Rs. 24000 and the lowest being Rs. 1000 which was limited to few thousand fans. Even the middle class can occupy only 20% of the stands, rest is for the Rich and the Bollywood celebrities/Politicians. This decreased the colour and sound of the Indian stands. Its a known fact that the common man on the Indian street or an youngster from a government college/school are known for their unorthodox celebrations in cinema halls and sports galleries, but these brand of people were left out with few cheaper tickets and they can not afford to buy tickets in tens-of-thousands of rupees. All they got was lathi charge from police when they tried to get one. The stands were filled with rich Indians, Movie stars and Politicians. The major part of stands were occupied by fair, neatly clad upper-sector of the Indian society with full blow makeup and sunglasses. They were almost Semi-NRI’s who cannot resonate the pulse of the cricket viewing tradition this land had shown over the years.

The Indian Show (click on the picture to expand)

I really don’t understand how plenty of Bollywood actors get tickets for all Important matches when the true cricket fan is left outside with only option of a television remote. It seems the BCCI’s VIP quota is much higher than any sports governing body. The actual fan can watch cricket only in television, But the celebrities who just want to associate themselves with the popular sport get an easy access to the stands. This is a negative culture created by the fully commercial IPL where every Bollywood actor feels a sense of proud to be linked with cricket. What a crazy country we are living in and what a crazy attitude the Bollywood has.

Police lathi charge fans ahead of India vs England game at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. (click on the picture to expand)

Price comparison between India and Srilanka.

Price comparison between India and Srilanka. (Click on the chart to expand)

BCCI can counter argue showing the massive population of cricket fans in India, But in any civilized society money should not be the tool to control the crowd. The real fact is BCCI is autonomous and not under the sports ministry. They control what ever they do. Since the British Raj the flavor of BCCI has not changed. Today BCCI is the worlds richest sports governing body. Imagine how it would be if the money earned by BCCI is routed to the government and used for the social development or at least for uplifting other sports. Its something every sports lover should start think about. Is there an end to this? Please flood the sports ministry with questions….

Written by palindia

April 11, 2011 at 3:27 AM

Posted in Indian Culture, Sports