"Just who is this World Cup for? It sure isn't for the common man of India."
"Cricket comes from the streets, not the corporate box! They seem to have forgotten that."
Just a couple of the comments we heard from frustrated fans outside the Bengaluru stadium. Of course, not everyone can have a ticket for a big World Cup game but fans should at least know how to get one. Crashing websites, closed box offices and clashes with police really should not be part of the process.
The big problem for Indian fans is the lack of a centralised ticketing system.
Instead, regional cricket associations are in charge of distributing tickets for their own matches. It has left the ICC, the sport's world governing body, in the odd position of not being in charge of a key part of their own event. That they ceded control of ticketing to the hosts underlines the power Indian cricket has over the global game. It also laid the foundation for a chaotic and opaque ticketing operation.
There is huge level of cynicism within the ranks of regular Indian cricket fans. Many are resigned to the fact that if they really want a ticket for an important game they will have to pay over the odds on the black market.
Exact figures of just where all the tickets go are elusive. What we do know is that thousands go to paid up members of the regional cricket associations and to the corporate world. Only about 7,000 ever went on general sale for the India versus England game. That is less than 20 per cent of the stadium capacity.
The ICC have now set up an on-line lottery for semi-final and final tickets. They hope this will be fairer system, and one that will prevent thousands of fans lining up at stadiums in the generally fruitless hope of finding a ticket at the end of it all. But as one local journalist pointed out to ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat, this will not necessarily help the common fan. Many die-hard Indian supporters do not have access to the internet and cannot speak English.
Javagal Srinath made one the most revealing admissions. The former test bowler is now secretary of the Karnataka cricket association. He confessed that as far as he could see, the way tickets were being sold ahead of the England v India game had not really changed from when he was trying to buy them back at the 1987 World Cup. A fairly embarrassing statement from one of the men who was ultimately in charge of ticketing for this fixture.
This World Cup has allegedly been four years in the planning. Yet when it comes to ticket selling, the system is apparently still a very confused work in in progress.