The India-Pakistan series has taken 5 long years coming. Despite the wait, the hype around these matches pales in comparison to the frenzy ahead of the Pakistan-India semi-final tie at the World Cup. Deferred ticket sales have resulted not only in disappointed fans but also few Pakistani's traveling to India to witness the series.
Due to the delay, PCB has declined distribution and sales of all tickets for the Pakistan-India T20 ties. For the ODI matches too, tickets are not yet available in across the border.
"Since they've put a criterion in the visa issuance, that fans must have a valid ticket for a match to get the visa, I think it has made it more difficult. Even though initially the BCCI announced that they'll allow 30,000 fans to come to India. The availability of the tickets on time, I think caused a lot of problems for the fans," Moiz Saleem Ahmed, Managing Director, Bonds Travel said.
In spite of the difficulties in obtaining visas to travel to India, cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan are looking forward to a competitive series.
"It will be an interesting match between the two teams. There will be a fight. Both teams will be under pressure as they are playing a bilateral series after so many years. The Indian team is good but Pakistan will win the game," said Bilal Khurram, Moin Khan Cricket Academy, Karachi.
Fans across the border are hopeful that the series will not only settle old cricketing scores with India but also make way for the return of international cricket to their home grounds. Traditional rivalry aside, cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan are sad to see the little master bid farewell to the ODI format.
"International cricket will be missing Tendulkar a lot. He was one of the most important cricketers in international cricket. We really wanted to see him in the Pakistan-India matches. And well he has his names in history. And we'll all miss him in cricket. Afridi is another very important personality in cricket, but in the last couple of months and years, he has been a bit down. We hope to see him perform well in the India Pakistan series," Salman, Lords Sports, Karachi said.
Whether Shahid Afridi finds form this series or not, only time will tell. But the resumption of cricketing ties between India-Pakistan surely beholds promising prospects for game.