For The First Time, ICC Cricket WC Trophy Makes A Stop In Guwahati!
The International Cricket Council (ICC) Men's Cricket World Cup trophy made a halt in Assam's Guwahati on Wednesday as a part of the ongoing tour ahead of the start of the mega event in October this year.
The trophy was showcased at South Point School in Guwahati before being unveiled at the 91 Yards Club inside the premises of the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) Barsapara Stadium where ACA President Taranga Gogoi, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Joint-Secretary Devajit Lon Saikia and ACA Secretary Tridip Konwar addressed a presser in the presence of media.
The trophy was unveiled ceremonially amidst much fanfare after which Devajit Lon Saikia took questions. Addressing the gathering ahead of the unveiling, Devajit Lon Saikia said, "The trophy has arrived in Guwahati for the first time. This trophy has had an extensive journey as a part of the tour and it also became the first ever trophy of any international sport to be launched into space when it was sent to the stratosphere, 1,20,000 feet above the earth's surface before making a landing at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. It has traveled through a lot of countries and also across various Indian states before making a stop here. The trophy will be up for display till 4 pm today after which it will continue on its journey which will take it to Pakistan on Thursday."
Answering a question on the schedule for warm up matches and practice sessions, he said, "Practice sessions will begin from September 28 and will go on till October 1. The sessions will take place at two locations, that is, at the Barsapara Stadium and at Amingaon ACA Stadium. Two teams will take part in practice sessions daily."
"Meanwhile, the warm-up matches will take place from September 29 and go on till October 3. As many as five teams, India, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, will camp in Guwahati. The first warm-up match will be played on September 29 and will feature Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India will take on England on September 30. Thereafter, England will face Bangladesh on October 2 and Afghanistan will play Sri Lanka on October 3 with the showpiece event starting on October 5," added the BCCI Joint Secretary.
Speaking about the ticketing structure and pricing for the warm-up matches, Devajit Lon Saikia said, "Tickets will be available for every match under five price slabs - Rs 200, Rs 300, Rs 500, Rs 700 and Rs 1,000 per ticket. We have tried to keep the ticket prices as low as possible as we want everyone to enjoy the matches. All ticket sales will be through third-party agencies. For the matches, BookMyShow is the agency and tickets will be available there."
Furthermore, batting a question on arrangements made for the teams and players arriving in Guwahati, the BCCI Joint Secretary mentioned that the matter of logistics is entirely up to the ICC and BCCI. The ICC has made arrangements for the hotels where the players will stay and the BCCI has helped with that, he said before adding that ACA was initially consulted on the matter but did not have any say in the later stages as it has no jurisdiction in the matter.
Speaking on the arrangements made in the Stadium for the warm-up matches, Devajit Lon Saikia stressed on the upgradation of facilities including hospitality and toilets in the stadium. He said, "We have revamped the hospitality area. The toilets have also been upgraded. We understand that ODI matches are day-long affairs and people want certain facilities for such matches. For the flooding facilities, we will have to wait till the later stages and look at the ticket sales. We are also aiming to subsidize drinking water and if possible, we will provide that for free. For media persons, based on your requests, we have shifted the media gallery to the South block just behind the wickets which I hope will enable better coverage."
While Guwahati was initially talked up as one of the possible venues to host world cup matches, later on, fans were let down when the ICC released the schedule with the city's Barsapara Ground not included in the final list of host cities, to the disappointment of fans. Asked about an explanation on what went on behind the scenes leading to the decision, Devajit Lon Saikia said that it was not in the hands on ACA and some logistical issues prevented Guwahati from hosting a world cup match.
He said, "You will find that the stadium has been revamped in many areas. This is due to our earlier understanding that we will be hosting world cup matches. However, that was not to be as you all know. Some logistics issues prevented ICC from allowing matches to be held in Guwahati. There were 10 venues up for consideration but when the final announcement came, we were all let down. However, the third match of the India - Australia T20 series post the world cup has been given to ACA and will be held in Guwahati."
"Ticket sales are good for the warm-up matches. We have got a great response from the people. The India vs England match has got the best response. We hope for good numbers on the day of the matches. For the last three months, ACA has worked tirelessly on this and the results will be up for you to judge on the day of the matches, concluded Devajit Lon Saikia answering a question on the public response to ticket sales.