Hours after at least seven persons were injured in a stampede and lathi charge at the Gymkhana cricket ground in Secunderabad where tickets for the upcoming India-Australia cricket match were being sold, Telangana Sports Minister V Srinivas Goud held a review meeting on Thursday with government officials and Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) members. Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, the minister responded to allegations of mismanagement of ticket sales and the sale of tickets in the black market and said that a committee would be formed to take action on such cases. “If anyone gives evidence of black ticket sales, we will definitely book a case and take legal action,” Goud told the media.
On Thursday, the HCA began the offline sale of tickets at the Gymkhana cricket ground for the third India-Australia T20I match scheduled for September 25 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Uppal. This is the first international cricket match to be hosted by Hyderabad in nearly three years. Cricket fans vying for tickets were reportedly unable to buy them online as they became unavailable soon after online sales began. Many fans had also turned up at the Gymkhana ground on Wednesday, but returned disappointed. On Thursday, as hundreds of people thronged the stadium, a stampede-like situation ensued, and police resorted to lathi charge. At least seven people were injured and shifted to Yashoda Hospitals in Secunderabad for treatment. The hospitalised persons include two police constables, two students, and a sweeper at the Gymkhana ground.
Many fans have blamed the HCA for mismanaging the sale of tickets and not being transparent about the number of tickets available and how they were being sold. Minister Goud called for a review meeting on Thursday with government officials as well as HCA members on the arrangements to be made for the upcoming cricket match. The meeting was also attended by HCA president Mohammed Azharuddin. The minister said the HCA members were also called, and they were asked for transparency on the tickets issue, the details of the number of tickets issued on Thursday, when the remaining tickets would be made available, etc. HCA president Azharuddin, however, denied the allegations of irregularities and said the details of tickets sold so far will be announced at a press conference on Friday.
When asked about the stampede at the Gymkhana ground on Thursday, Minister Srinivas Goud told the media that the sale of tickets is a private affair that comes under the ambit of the HCA. “It's HCA’s responsibility to sell tickets. if they inform us in advance, police security can be provided,” he said. When asked about the alleged sale of black tickets, he said, “Although it is done by HCA, if it is done in a problematic manner, we will intervene and take action. Since the tickets issue has turned controversial, since the HCA handles it and there is no transparency, we will call for inquiry if there are any complaints of black ticket purchase.” He added that a committee would be formed to take strict action, and if anyone provides evidence of black ticket sales, a case will be registered and legal action will follow. The minister also said that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will not remain quiet if Telangana’s brand image or prestige is damaged.