Informed sources told WEEKENDSPORT yesterday that at least 1 000 tickets for each of the five playing days were yet to go on sale.
In spite of heavy demands from tour operators in the United Kingdom, the sources emphatically pointed out that all the remaining tickets would be restricted to Barbadians.
Season tickets for the March 12-16 match went on sale on November 9, 1997 and within a few days, Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) business manager Rollins Howard said the entire ground had been sold out.
It is now understood that daily tickets are still available for all stands with the exception of the Garfield Sobers Pavilion, which is the smallest of Kensington’s seven stands.
“The BCA board may be trying to protect itself from the venom it received the last time the English were here,” one of the sources gave as the main reason why tickets were held back.
“In 1994 all of the tickets were sold out well in advance and the BCA got a lot of heat leading up to the match.”
The sources could not say when the remaining tickets would be made available to the public, but indications are that it will be “just before the start of the match”.
Top government officials have confirmed that the BCA is seeking an extra $1 million in addition to the $5.5 million loan guaranteed to renovate the Mitchie Hewitt Stand and build a new Press Box at the Oval.
The additional $1 million is supposed to be geared towards additional seating, but BCA officials remained tight-lipped yesterday about such a possibility.
There are reports out of England that tour operators are upset over the BCA’s decision to limit only 3 500 season tickets to non-CARICOM residents.
Fred Rumsey, the former England bowler who runs Kingfisher Travel and comes to Barbados each year for a popular cricket Festival which is named after him, is one of those up in arms.
“We’ve been taking tours to the Caribbean for more than 20 years and we’ve never had any problems with tickets,” Rumsey was quoted as saying by the London Daily Mail.
“Now new people have taken over and reduced our allocation by 60 per cent without any warning.
“It’s stupid. Their economy gets a boost from having all these people there,” Rumsey said.