The 2023 ODI World Cup has had one of the most chaotic build-ups seen in any major event. Scheduling issues, uncertainty over venues and security issues have resulted in an unprecedented lull in proceedings with a little over a month to go for a major cricket event in India.
Tickets for the World Cup will finally go on sale on Friday, just 41 days before the opening match of the tournament – between England and New Zealand in Ahmedabad on October 5.
Even here, it is not so straightforward. With very high demand for tickets expected this close to the event, the International Cricket Council has decided to stagger the sale of tickets.
Fans first have to register their interest for match passes before they can get an opportunity to purchase them. Thereafter, tickets will be made available in batches.
Tickets for all non-India matches will go on sale first. Five days later, tickets for the home team's games across various venues will be put up for sale. Tickets will be available on BookMyShow.
The peculiar strategy is an apt reflection of the lack of planning and timely action by the Indian board.
The tournament itself seemed to be at stake earlier in the year when Pakistan threatened to pull out due to India's refusal to travel to their country for the Asia Cup.
Then, a compromise was reached between the parties as Pakistan were granted co-hosting rights for the Asia Cup. But that was not the end of the woes as World Cup fixtures had to be changed after they had been announced.
Pakistan’s matches in Ahmedabad against India and against England in Kolkata were rescheduled as authorities were worried about adequate security measures owing to local festivals on match day.
A total of nine changes were made to the World Cup schedule earlier this month. Then this week, another state association – Hyderabad – asked for another change in fixtures, but their request was denied.
To top it all, at least half a dozen venues have undergone major or minor renovation, especially in the outfield.
In between all this, it is the travelling fans who have been left high and dry. Making international travel plans this close to the tournament, and during the beginning of tourist and festival season, will be extremely challenging. Cricket fans from Pakistan will have an almost impossible task of acquiring visas, which is a long and arduous process in the best of times.
Any delays or forced changes from here on will be catastrophic for the tournament and to India's reputation as a cricket host, which has already taken a big hit.