All the four Boards of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh met at Bhurban near Islamabad in their first meeting discussing the organizing of the 2011 World Cup. They came up with a statement that they will make the 2011 event a far more crowd-friendly by keeping the prices low of the tickets. It is really heartening to know that the ICC along with others are trying to make rectifications in its formerly inept attitude during the World Cup 2007 which forced even the frenzied Caribbean people to stay away from the grounds. It is a good promise if they keep it. Everyone wants to enjoy cricket in peaceful and economical way.
But there they have one big problem which is not difficult to foresee at all. Growing stakes of terrorism in the region and growing concern of the authorities who are fighting the war on terror. These are the two factors which cannot be denied at all. Living in Karachi, I know that how they staged peaceful cricket in the city after New Zealand’s excuse from playing in the city after a bomb explosion in the hotel parking lot. It is never been easy at all. And playing in Peshawar and the northern regions is still a big scare for foreign teams. Hopefully, it will not happen but forfeitures from playing at certain stations from certain teams can easily make its place. Sri Lanka is also not safe from the same threats and playing there will raise few eyebrows as well.
In Karachi, keeping the prices high of the tickets is one usual practice that we see after the 2001 incident because by doing that they shunned away all who want to join the party. Keeping the prices high restrict lower income bracket to come to the ground. Another scheme of things is non-availability of tickets at all outlets. Tickets usually stay in the safe of certain hands which they sell at higher prices or distribute among their relatives and close friends. Through this practice, they allow very small group of people to reach out for tickets. Banking staff where tickets usually sold out is the most privileged clique of persons who do whatever they want to do with the tickets.
Then the whole security issue imposed certain steps which included parkings well outside the stadiums, long queues to enter into the grounds, helicopters flying all over the city, announcement of local holiday to keep people at their homes are usual practices whenever Karachi has been chosen as a venue for an international match. If they do these kinds of things at certain centers to stage a peaceful match then who will dare to reach out and be a part of huge crowd.
At least in Pakistan, keeping higher ticket pricing is one mode of keeping poor people from coming to the grounds. Bigger the crowd, bigger will be the dangers to disrupt the proceedings. If they keep the prices low which is highly unlikely then security concerns will tease crowds for pleasant and peaceful match-watching.
Similar will be the fate of certain encounters in Sri Lanka as well. Bomb explosions are not new to that territory and reaction of foreign teams we all know at such happenings. India has also suffered badly in this wave of terrorism over the years. All the four boards may try to keep it crowd friendly but the conditions and circumstances in the region will make it a hassle for organizing authorities across the sub-continent. I wish best of luck to all of those who are dreaming for an entertaining World Cup 2011.