Cricket fans rejoice! Today’s entry for the first Test series being held in Visakhapatnam, even Andhra Pradesh, and the second Test between India and England will be free. In fact, the gates will mostly be open for all days!
The Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) has announced the free entry for fans as this is the first Test to be held in Andhra Pradesh. The ACA wants a full house but they can’t do that for security reasons. They did the next best thing and made the entry free today. Depending on how it goes today, entry will be free for the remainder of the days too.
While usually, tickets for any cricket match sell like hot cakes, this time around the sales weren’t much due to the demonetisation of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The stadium where the match is being held has a capacity of 28,000 and ACA Secretary G Gangaraju hopes atleast 10,000 fans will turn up now.
About 5000 school children are being brought in for the test match today from various parts of the city. Former India wicketkeeper MSK Prasad, the chairman of national selectors described it as one of the biggest moments for ACA, calling it one of the “happiest day since the Andhra Cricket Association was established in 1953.” He acknowledged the “efforts of people from CK Naydu to Gangaraju”.
After CM Chandrababu Naidu’s unveiling of the plaque ahead of the match, followed by a felicitation of former Indian players who are now a part of the commentary team, the venue is formally accorded Test status. Being held at the YSR ACA VDCA Stadium, the match is a memorable one as the venue has hosted one T20I, one ODI and six IPL matches previously. The IPL matches were held here on a 10 day notice when the matches had to shifted here from Maharashtra due to a water crisis.