NAGPUR, INDIA // Fans seeking tickets for India's cricket World Cup showdown with South Africa clashed with baton-wielding police today.
Twelve days after police clashed with hundreds of fans in Bangalore, similar scenes were seen in front of the ticket counter at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Indian media has reported.
The ticket counter remained closed as police were seen trying to control the crowds swarming outside the area, as they hoped to secure seats for Saturday's Group B match.
Ticket sales for the February 19 to April 2 tournament have proven to be a major headache for Indian organisers, who are unable to meet demand for the high-profile matches, especially those featuring the home team as well as the April 2 final in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
Today's episode are likely to raised further questions about the way tickets are being distributed. Only a small quota for the major matches are being sold directly to the public, while the rest are distributed among the ICC and clubs affiliated to the local cricket associations.
Last month, the International Cricket Council (ICC) accused its own president, Sharad Pawar, of mismanaging the way tickets were being distributed and warned that tickets for the final should not be sold at the box office because the high demand created the "potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open".
The official online website selling just a 1,000 tickets for the final crashed after 10 million hits were recorded in just 20 minutes by fans desperate to see the final. As a result, a ballot system was later announced to cope with the huge demands.
Broad joins Pietersen on the casualty list
England fast bowler Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup due to a side strain, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced today.
Broad, 24, will join teammate Kevin Pietersen on the sidelines after picking up the injury during his four-wicket haul in England's six-run win over South Africa in Chennai on Sunday.
Seamer Chris Tremlett is expected to replace Broad, but the ECB will need to apply to the World Cup technical committee first.
Bangladesh ban players from writing columns
Team members have been told to stop writing newspaper columns during the tournament after controversy arose over comments by Shakib Al Hasan, the captain, in a newspaper. Manzur Ahmed, the chief executive of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, confirmed yesterday that the decision has been imposed.
In a recent column in a Bengali-language daily, Al Hasan criticised former players who criticised the national team for their poor performance against West Indies last Friday when they were bowled out for just 58. Al Hasan had said the former players should look at their own modest records.
Opening conundrum for England
England need to find a new opening partnership for Friday’s World Cup clash against Bangladesh after Kevin Pietersen’s exit, but Andy Flower, the coach, is not giving the game away. Flower declined to reveal Andrew Strauss’s new opening partner, hinting there could be a different choice for each game depending on the conditions.
“It does not have to be the same man for the rest of the tournament,” the coach said. “You need different qualities to open the batting against Bangladesh than you do against Australia. We are going to have to be flexible.”
The choice is likely to be between Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara and Matt Prior, the wicketkeeper – all middle-order batsmen but capable of having a hit at the start.
Dockerell on a high after Tendulkar's prized wicket
George Dockrell, the Ireland teenager, said it had been a “dream come true” for him to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar after the underdogs gave World Cup co-hosts India a fright on Sunday. India were made to work hard for a five-wicket win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Dockrell, a left-arm spinner had batting great Tendulkar lbw for 38 and later dismissed MS Dhoni, the India captain, on his way to fine figures of two for 49 in 10 overs. “I am a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar,” Dockrell, 18, told the Deccan Herald. “I tried to catch a glimpse of him at training sessions here in Bangalore. And getting him out was a dream come true.”