Cricket Fans Filling Hospitals. They're Not Sick

Overnight check-ups double as affordable accommodation for Pakistan game
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2023 1:22 PM CDT
Cricket Fans Filling Hospitals. They're Not Sick
Pakistan captain Babar Azam checks the pitch ahead of an ICC Cricket World Cup match in Ahmedabad, India, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Hospitals in Ahmedabad, India, are filling up amid a major outbreak of cricket fever. Arch-rivals India and Pakistan play each other Saturday in the group stage of cricket's World Cup, and hospitals have seen a surge in people scheduling check-ups that include an overnight stay on the day of the game, reports Reuters. Hotel costs have risen 20-fold in the city ahead of the most anticipated match of the entire tournament. Doctors in Ahmedabad, around 330 miles north of Mumbai, say the hospital stays are a clever way to find cheap accommodation, but it's not behavior they want to encourage.

"We have asked our members not to entertain such requests. Hospitals are not meant for non-patients," Bharat Gadhavi, president of the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, tells Reuters. Airfare to Ahmedabad has also surged and tickets are being sold for up to 25 times face value. The BBC notes that the cricketing rivalry between India and Pakistan is one of the fiercest in the sport, echoing the often tense relationship between the two countries, but there are " stories of love, respect, and camaraderie between the two teams" going back many years.

India has a 7-0 record against Pakistan in World Cups, though both teams have won their opening two World Cup matches. The game at the 134,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium is the first time the Pakistan team has played in India for seven years and it could become the most-watched cricket broadcast in history. The full stadium Saturday will be a contrast to the tournament's opening game last week, when there were only a few thousand fans present to watch defending champions England play New Zealand, Al Jazeera reports. Fans complained that a chaotic ticketing and scheduling system made it difficult for supporters to travel to games from overseas. (More Cricket World Cup stories.)

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