The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) has announced 5000 free tickets for men in uniform for the third Test between India and South Africa starting Saturday in Ranchi.
“We have set aside around five thousand tickets to the match for our CRPF jawans, army men and NCC cadets,” JSCA secretary Sanjay Sahay told Times of India. “It is our tribute to the men in uniform, we have also distributed tickets among school children in different districts.”
This isn’t the first time Indian cricket and Ranchi have come together to pay tribute to the Indian army. Earlier in February this year, players of the Indian cricket team wore camouflage caps as a mark of tribute to the loss of lives in the Pulwama terror attacks. The caps were handed by Ranchi’s very own MS Dhoni, an honourary lieutenant in the Indian Army.
The whole thing caused a stir with the Pakistan Cricket Board sending a strong-worded letter to the ICC, calling for action against India for wearing the caps. The ICC responded to it saying India were granted permission by the board itself.
Besides, the South Africa cricketers had a bit of an incident upon their arrival in the city. It has been reported that the players had to walk all the way to another hotel because the team bus got stuck at the earlier venue. As a result of this, the BCCI had to allocate a different hotel to South Africa – located around 13 kms away from the stadium – than the one Indian cricket team is staying in.
“The rooms for that had been booked one year in advance,” a JSCA official told TOI. “However, the bookings are not done by us. It was done by the Board itself.”
The JSCA stadium, which brags a capacity of 39000, will be hosting its second Test. The first match was held from March 16 to 20 in 2017 between India and Australia which ended in a draw. The stadium has also hosted five ODIs and two T20Is.