As the Asia Cup 2023 gears up for the much-anticipated India-Pakistan showdown, cricket fans are experiencing a surge of excitement. However, for many devoted supporters of the Men in Blue, acquiring tickets and accommodation has proven to be quite a challenge, as both are sold out in the host city of Kandy, Sri Lanka.
The intense rivalry between India and Pakistan is set to unfold at Kandy’s stadium on Saturday, promising a cricketing spectacle that has captured global attention. This enthusiasm has also reverberated in the hospitality industry, with hotels and accommodations in Kandy reaching full occupancy due to the influx of cricket enthusiasts.
A hotel Managing Director conveyed their enthusiasm, noting the impact of the event on the local economy. “We are happy that cricket is back here. We are getting ready for the match between India and Pakistan. We are still receiving inquiries and started receiving them a month back. Now, we are fully packed. It is an amazing experience to see this after a long while, after the economic crisis and COVID-19,” shared the MD with ANI.
Hoteliers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a memorable stay for their guests. “We are ready to give them the Indian-style food, just the way they asked us,” assured the MD, underlining their commitment to creating a unique experience.
Another hotel owner echoed this sentiment, highlighting the positive aftermath of the Asia Cup. “This Asia Cup is a good opportunity for the hotels. During the COVID-19, we faced a lot of losses. But now, our rooms are fully booked and packed. We are still receiving inquiries from people, but unfortunately, we do not have rooms for them. We are giving people discounts on food and liquor. This all is good for our country after the economic crisis and COVID,” expressed the owner.
As fans scramble to secure tickets, some have expressed disappointment at missing out on witnessing the India-Pakistan clash live. “I just came here to watch the India-Pakistan match from Colombo. But all tickets are sold out. It is really unfortunate, but I have booked tickets for the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh match and I will watch it. All hotels and accommodation are also full. I really wanted to see Virat Kohli, Babar Azam, and Pakistan’s pace attack,” voiced a disappointed fan.
A cricket enthusiast from Canada shared a similar sentiment, lamenting the unavailability of match tickets. “I came from Canada to watch India versus Pakistan. Tickets are sold out. They are expensive too. Wanted to watch Virat Kohli and Team India. Accommodation is expensive, all hotels are booked, could not find anything.”
In the tournament structure, Pakistan, India, and Nepal are grouped in Group A, while Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka form Group B. The Asia Cup 2023 employs a hybrid model, with Pakistan hosting four matches across two venues and Sri Lanka hosting the rest. Following the group stage matches, the Super Fours will commence on September 6, leading to the ultimate showdown between the top two teams in the final on September 17 in Colombo.
Indian Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.
Pakistan Squad: Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Tayyab Tahir (travelling reserve).