It is not often that one spots more than a hundred policemen deployed outside a ticketing counter at Eden Gardens. Yet, that was just the sight that greeted an onlooker on Monday afternoon.
The security deployment follows an incident where the ticketing window had to be shut within half an hour of it opening yesterday, because the administration got nervous about a crowd bigger than available tickets.
“It was unnerving to see a rowdy crowd of more than 25,000 people in line for about 10,000 available tickets for the Saturday game,” said a KKR official.
The ‘game’ in reference is the clash being touted as the event of this season’s Indian Premier League. On May 5, Sourav Ganguly will lead as captain the Pune Warriors India (PWI) in a match against Shahrukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the team which had all but banished dada as Ganguly is popularly known last season.
On Monday. the serpentine queue had a crowd of about 8,000 people. KKR officials confirmed that by the evening tickets would most likely be sold out.
“The Rs 750 to Rs 1000 denominator tickets are already sold out. We expect even the Rs 300 tickets to be sold out by the evening,” said the KKR official.
Ask Pune about the reason for this interest, and the view is that PWI are closer to the Calcuttan heart than KKR. “Sahara is owned by a Bengali, the Bengali connect is more than even KKR. Sourav is a big name one of the biggest sort icons of Bengal. The reason for the interest is to see him play live in the captain’s capacity,” said Deep Dasgupta, CEO, PWI.
The interest could be gauged from the queue outside Eden Gardens (home to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the iconic stadium often referred to as cricket’s answer to the Colosseum).
The mercury touched 41 degrees Celsius on Monday, with the humidity in full swing as well. Interestingly, the reasons being cited by the KKR camp for the interest is along different lines altogether.
“It would be incorrect to ascribe the interest to Sourav. Calcutta has always loved its cricket anyways. There is equal amount of interest for the Mumbai Indians match as well,” said Jeet Banerjee, sports management firm Gameplan, the Knights’ logistics and marketing agents in Calcutta.