Mumbai :  Millions of cricket fans were in for a major shock as the server of a website authorised to sell tickets for Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test match crashed minutes after it started sales here on Monday morning.

Fans from Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and other places like Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik and other parts of the state could not log in as the website remained busy and unavailable for nearly an hour from 11 am onwards.

Bitter fans complained to media persons that the cricketing authorities, sponsors, cricket clubs and influential persons managed to grab the lion’s share of the total estimated 35,000 seats in the Wankhede Stadium where Tendulkar will play his historic final match on Nov 14-18.

Though actual numbers are not available, barely 5,000 tickets will be available for general sale in the price bands of Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,500, with only two tickets per person allowed for online booking.

In fact, some fans from Pune and Aurangabad said that in anticipation of getting tickets for the match, they had even reserved accommodation in hotels in the vicinity of the stadium.

Accommodation in Mumbai is at a premium in view of the ongoing Diwali vacations, Moharram rush, the 200th Test match, and the first death anniversary of the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Nov 17.  “Sachin is from Mumbai and Maharashtra and we are being deprived of getting a chance to view him in live action on this occasion,” said a fan from Andheri who spent the whole day unsuccessfully trying to book a ticket.  “In keeping with the MCA’s (Mumbai Cricket Association) tradition of making access to international cricket as easy, safe and democratic as possible, we have made tickets available online,” MCA joint secretaries P V Shetty and Nitin Dalal said in a statement.

MCA lauded the role of the website and its service delivery in the past few matches, including the ICC-CWC 2011 in Mumbai.

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