SHARJAH - Sharjah Cricket Stadium was thronged by spectators well before the start of the second One-day International (ODI), as long queues were witnessed some three hours before the start of play.

The masses lined up in quite extraordinary numbers as it was Friday local holiday in Emirates, and such was the enthusiasm that people offered Juma prayers at the earliest available times in mosques. The stadium was pack to capacity within minutes of the start of the match. Some touchy scenes were also witnessed, as people having valid tickets were denied entry into the stadium due to extraordinary pack of the people, so gates were closed well before the start of play and only those who had personal contacts with the organisers were given access to the venue.

Tickets were openly blacked, as it was for the very first time that people in such numbers gathered to witness the match. Previously even in two T20 internationals at Dubai, the stadium was completely giving deserted look, but it was entirely different situation, as predicted earlier, tickets were well sold out on the very first day when they were on offer.

It was field day for the black marketers, who made hefty money and sold tickets as per their wishes on demand. When time and again it was brought into the notice of local organisers and PCB officials, who were present at the venue, they assured people having valid tickets will be given entry but after a lapse of several hours, people remained at the main gates, waiting and hoping to enter the stadium. The organisers had taken the second ODI on request to generate maximum finances, but they should have also taken into account, whenever Pakistan team plays at Sharjah, the stadium is bound to fill to capacity. Instead of minting money through unfair means and denying genuine ticket holders their right of entry, alternative solution should have been made to accommodate the ticket holders, who had spent money, time and scarified their weekend just to watch their favorite stars in action.

The PCB must take up the issue with Sharjah Stadium management, who are responsible to facilitate masses and ensure no such incident repeat in the third ODI, which will be played at the same venue on Sunday. It will not be holiday in UAE, but keeping in mind passion and sheer love for Pakistan cricket, people are expected to turn up in quite a few numbers. The pack to capacity stadium gives lots of satisfaction to the players, who want to be bucked up, as Pakistani team is denied to host matches at home soil, they have adopted UAE as second home, well aware of the fact the Pakistani community will not disappoint them and turn up in numbers to witness them in action.