ODI World Cup 2023: Fans Throng Hospitals For Overnight Stay As IND vs PAK Hysteria Grips Ahmedabad
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released an additional 14,000 seats earlier this month after the first batch of tickets for Saturday's match sold out in less than an hour after going on sale in August.
In the lead-up to the World Cup group stage match between India and Pakistan on Saturday, cricket fever has swept across Ahmedabad, as seen by a visit to the nearby hospitals in the western Indian city.
Several hospitals have experienced an unexpected surge in patients scheduled for overnight stays for check-ups in conjunction with the World Cup's most anticipated match.
A number of medical professionals informed the local press that the craze for check-up 'packages' was a clever strategy to secure cheap lodging, because hotel rates had increased by up to 20 times in advance of the game.
Tushar Patel, President of the Ahmedabad Medical Association, told Reuters, "We have come across some cases of people coming to watch the India-Pakistan match also taking an appointment for health check-ups and staying in hospitals."
Members of the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association are advised against housing these kind of fans.
"Our members have been asked not to grant such requests. Hospitals should not be used for non-patients, Bharat Gadhavi, the president, stated to Reuters.
Since their independence in 1947, the Asian neighbours have fought three wars, and their relationship further deteriorated in 2008 when gunmen in Mumbai killed 166 people, a crime that India blamed on a terrorist Pakistani group.
Geopolitical realities caused bilateral cricket to become extinct, but it also stoked the desire for a match between neighbours who only play each other in multi-team competitions.
Both India and Pakistan have won their first two tournament matches going into this matchup.
Hemish Patel, a native of Ahmedabad, and his pals finally succeeded in obtaining four tickets, each worth 6,000 Indian rupees ($72.15), following several days of futile attempts.
"We logged into the site with multiple devices," he stated.
"We constantly kept on refreshing the site and were able to book within 10 minutes after the sale of tickets began."
Patel was among the fortunate few.
Reselling tickets can fetch up to 25 times their face value, and on Tuesday, municipal police detained four young people for peddling counterfeit tickets.
The cost of flying has increased by up to four times, and Indian Railways will operate two extremely fast trains that connect Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
The ideal venue
The 134,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium appears to be the ideal venue for cricket's toughest rivalry. It has hosted Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier this year and former US President Donald Trump in 2020.
According to Ahmedabad police commissioner GS Malik, 11,000 security guards will be stationed across the high-profile event, and the city has been designated a "no-drone zone" on Saturday.
Pakistan's first two matches in their first tour of India since the 2016 T20 World Cup were played in Hyderabad, where they received a warm reception.
At the ODI World Cup, India had a perfect 7-0 record against Pakistan. Despite the rivalry's assumption of the Orwellian notion of serious sport—"war minus the shooting"—players from both teams get along well.
The footage of Pakistani fast bowler Shaheen Afridi giving Jasprit Bumrah a present for the Indian player's newborn baby went viral during the Asia Cup leg in Sri Lanka last month.
For Indian Liyakat Khan, whose daughter Samiya gets wed to Pakistani fast bowler Hasan Ali, it will be a unique occasion.
In 2021, while my daughter was expecting her first child, my wife left for Pakistan. We'll cross paths again. I am very excited to hold my grandchild," Khan told the publication Indian Express.