When Cricket Australia decided to cancel 1300 Ashes tickets listed on internet auction sites by scalpers, they were trying to send a clear message: tickets should have consistent prices and be available for everybody, and removing scalpers from the picture would create more tickets for the general public.

This may be well and good, but what bothers me is the arrogant, heavy-handed approach Cricket Australia has taken against the buyers in an attempt to punish the sellers.

After cancelling the tickets, Cricket Australia began scoldingly saying, “We have said from the outset for fans not to buy tickets on eBay,” which is basically a “we told you not to do it” slap in the face.

Punters have already lost their money and the chance to see the most sacred contest in world cricket, but let’s give them a “told you so” just for good measure.

What is even worse, and something I can’t comprehend, is Cricket Australia’s decision not to contact buyers or even publicise cancelled ticket numbers, therefore allowing the potential for purchasers to turn up to the game only to be turned away at the gate. It reminds me of a parent telling his child that “you made the bed, so you sleep in it”.

While this might be bad enough for the local cricket fans, reports suggest many of the cancelled tickets were purchased on England’s eBay website. So spare a thought for those flying halfway around the world to see a game only to realise their tickets have been cancelled when they turn up on the day.

Perhaps predicting an outcry from those who bought these tickets, Cricket Australia have fallen back on the old Australian clichéd response, “It’s important that cricket remains accessible to the battlers.”

Who are these battlers? The general public who missed out on getting a ticket due to scalpers, or the people that are now out of pocket and don’t even know it yet?

Cricket Australia is employing the “punish the buyer to harm the seller method”, but wouldn’t other methods that bypass the innocents be better for cricket in general?

Ripping the tickets away from those who used an auction site and not even telling them is a misguided bully tactic that Cricket Australia should have to answer for.

Peter Fray

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