As ticket sales for the Pakistan Super League final began on Wednesday, desperate fans rushed to local banks where tickets were being sold after e-tickets sold out within hours.
Cricket enthusiasts from all over Punjab had made their way to Lahore, hoping to find cheap tickets at bank branches designated to sell them. However, their efforts were to no avail, as one bank official told DawnNews that his branch had received only 10 tickets of Rs500 value.
“They asked us to stand in the line for Rs4,000 tickets after [the Rs500 tickets were sold out], but even those tickets were sold out shortly. Only tickets worth Rs8,000 and Rs12,000 tickets are available, which we cannot afford,” a cricket enthusiast waiting in line since 7am told DawnNews.
Fans seemed to shrug off the fact that their favourite teams may not feature the high-profile international players they are most famous for in the league’s finale.
Earlier in the day, three English cricketers playing for Quetta Gladiators, the first team to reach the final, said they would not play in Pakistan .
Kevin Pietersen, Tymal Mills and Luke Wright, said they were excusing themselves from the PSL final on security concerns.
Final to be played amid tight security
The PSL final will be played on March 5, amid tight, ‘five-tier’ security for the players.
A Provincial Cabinet Committee on Law and Order on Feb 27 had decided to provide participants security equal almost to that provided to heads of states.
A senior official who attended the meeting told Dawn after the meeting that VVIPs are usually only offered three-tier security cover, but authorities had decided to provide five-tier security for players and other foreigners during their travels to and from the stadium.
The official said that other than during match timings, the players would be given “box security”, which means that only those person(s) authorised access to them will be allowed to meet them.
“The players will be under security rings 24 hours,” he added.
The meeting also decided that biometric identification of all those coming to the stadium to watch the match would be mandatory, and that no one would be allowed entry without his or her Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC).
The spectators would be checked using walk-through gates, metal detectors and sniffer-dogs before being allowed entry into the stadium, the official said.
Police and army contingents would be deployed in and around the stadium, while no parking would be allowed within 400 yards of the venue.
The law enforcers have been directed to conduct background checks of those residing in the vicinity of the stadium and their servants as well.
Punjab’s chief minister has appealed to the nation to support the government’s efforts in making the PSL final a success.