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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 12:05 GMT
England Ashes tickets fears grow
Australia supporters
England supporters' fears over ticket availability for the Ashes are growing after Cricket Australia insisted visitors will not outnumber home fans.

Allocations have yet to be confirmed, but reports suggest only a small number will be sold to travelling supporters.

Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has urged Cricket Australia to "make sure they're not home Tests for England".

And CA spokesman Peter Young said: "Aussies should have as good a chance to see their team as we can provide."

Demand for tickets is at an all-time high after England won an Ashes series for the first time in 18 years last summer.

Young said ticket prices and sale dates would be the responsibility of individual state associations and that details had to be finalised before any announcement was made.

Most people in the stands will be Australians barracking for Australia
Cricket Australia's Peter Young

"It's the most extraordinary customer interest we've ever encountered," he admitted.

"We hope that lots of UK visitors come - it adds to the colour and excitement. We also hope that they leave lots of their pounds sterling here."

The Boxing Day Test in Melbourne is expected to break the first-day attendance record of 90,800.

"It's going to be phenomenal," Warne enthused. "But if they've got 40,000 or 50,000 and you've only got 20,000 or 30,000 Aussies it will be like a home ground for them."

Young was confident that would not be the case and added: "The Aussie players are going to want to play in front of Australians.

"We confidently expect that most people in the stands will be Australians barracking for Australia.

"That's the way it should be, because it's our country."

England captain Michael Vaughan believes his team will be given their usual vociferous backing when the Ashes series begins in November.

"England fans are very clever and have special ways of getting tickets and I'm sure we'll be well supported in Australia," he said.

"There are a lot of ex-pats living out there and I'm sure you'll see large numbers of England supporters in every ground."

England seamer Matthew Hoggard joined the debate, by urging the Australian authorities to give The Barmy Army a fair allocation of tickets.

"The Barmy Army have been a massive part of English cricket over the years," he said.

"You go away to anywhere and they're always there in their thousands, it's like playing a Test match at home.

"Hopefully Cricket Australia will realise this and put tickets on sale for everybody, not just Australians."

Hoggard offered the view that the ticket debate may be a cunning ploy to unsettle England ahead of the series.

"Australians are massively into their mind games," he said. "It might be a smokescreen and tickets will go on sale as normal, but they're just trying to upset us eight months in advance. I'm not taking too much notice until they announce it."


SEE ALSO
Ashes frenzy
15 Dec 05 |  Cricket


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