As the countdown to the much-awaited clash between cricket giants India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 begins, the excitement among cricket enthusiasts is palpable, painting a vibrant picture of the fervor surrounding this high-stakes encounter. However, this fervor comes with its own set of challenges for die-hard fans, especially those supporting the Men in Blue, as both match tickets and hotel accommodations in Kandy, Sri Lanka, have been swiftly snapped up.
The stage is set for a clash of titans as India and Pakistan gear up to face off in the Asia Cup 2023 on Saturday at the Kandy stadium. The anticipation for this match has sent ripples of enthusiasm among cricket fans, leading to a surge in demand for tickets and lodging options.
In light of this intense enthusiasm, hotels in Kandy have witnessed a remarkable surge in occupancy. According to the Managing Director of a local hotel, the demand has been unprecedented. “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,” the MD stated, highlighting the eagerness among fans to witness this historic showdown.
The fervor surrounding the match extends beyond the cricket field and into the accommodations provided to fans. The hotels are sparing no effort to cater to the desires of the enthusiastic cricket aficionados. “We are ready to give them the Indian-style food, just the way they asked us,” one hotel representative emphasized, underlining the attention to detail in ensuring a memorable experience for the guests.
For hotel owners, the Asia Cup brings a silver lining after a period of challenges. “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,” a hotel owner stated. The surge in bookings and inquiries has been a welcome respite for the hospitality sector, marking a positive turn after the economic uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
The rush for accommodations parallels the race for match tickets, with passionate fans expressing disappointment at the sold-out status. Despite the ticket unavailability, fans remain dedicated to supporting their teams. “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,” a devoted cricket fan shared.
Even international supporters were not spared from the excitement. A fan from Canada expressed his longing to witness the clash, “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.”
As the stage is set for the India-Pakistan encounter, the fervor of cricket enthusiasts resonates, turning the spotlight onto the passionate fans who, despite challenges, remain dedicated to celebrating the spirit of cricket. Amidst the sold-out tickets and bustling hotels, the excitement builds for what promises to be a captivating cricket spectacle that will be etched in the memory of fans for years to come.
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).
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.