It was a no brainer then that the trip to the UK had to be timed accordingly.
With Pakistan playing on the 7th, 10th, and 15th the plan was made to be in London from 6th June till 16th June.
Flight arrangements were made, friends in London were notified, and now we just needed Champions Trophy match tickets and visas.
The tickets for Pakistan vs West Indies at the Oval on 7th June and for Pakistan vs South Africa at Edgbaston on 10th June were easily available. However, the initial allocation of tickets for Pakistan vs India were sold out.
Everyone I knew was registered on the ICC ticketing website to receive an email about when the next allotment of tickets will go on sale.
And the wait started.
The last one I watched at the stadium was the one at the World T20 last year in Colombo, and I don't have many good memories about that match.
I watched the 2011 World Cup semifinal in Manchester sitting among 20 Indians. Not many good memories about that match either.
And now I was waiting for the tickets to go on sale so that I can watch another Pakistan vs India match with those same Manchester friends in the stadium! And other friends too traveling with me from Dubai and Pakistan.
I grew up watching Pakistan vs India at the Sharjah cricket stadium. We rarely used to lose back then, and my childhood memories of Pakistan vs India encounters at the stadiums are cheerful ones.
I want those memories back.
But first, I want those damn tickets!
This past Friday the wait finally ended when the ICC circulated an email that the tickets will go on sale on Monday at 10:30am UK time, i.e. 1:30pm here in Dubai.
Alarms were set for 1:00pm for reminders and I glued myself to my computer screen from the time I woke up and made sure that any meetings or calls were scheduled for 2pm or later.
At 1:00pm my alarm rang. I was already on the ticketing website. I clicked on Pakistan vs India and the message still said that the initial allotment was sold out.
I refreshed the page every 2-3 minutes till it hit 1:30pm. When nothing changed at 1:30 I frantically started refreshing the page.
1:45pm and still nothing.
I sent out stressed out messages to friends saying that there is no second allotment for Pakistan vs India tickets and they all asked me the same question – "how do you know?"
I bloody well sat in front of that website hitting refresh like a crazy person for an hour, that's how I know you fools!
Little did I know that the fool was I. It was Sunday and the tickets were not going to be released till Monday!
Ofcourse Monday. The ICC said Monday.
What was I doing looking for them on Sunday?
Monday came, alarms were set once again, lunch and meetings were rescheduled, and there I was once again sitting in front of the computer screen waiting for 1:30pm.
At 12:40pm I logged on to the ticketing website and it took me to a page that said:
"We are experiencing large traffic volume at the moment so we have placed you in a queue to enter the website. Please wait in queue and you will be redirected to the website momentarily"
I was expecting something like this, but at least a page loaded and it had the decency to tell you that there was a queue.
Yes. A virtual queue.
They might not be physically exhausting than actual queues for tickets outside events, but it was mental torture I swear. Not knowing how many people are in front of you in a queue makes it worse and I figured that out yesterday as I waited for my turn in this Virtual queue.
It was 1:30pm. A bar showed me that I had waited my time and should enter the site any second, but still nothing happened.
Phone calls, messages, emails were all being exchanged and once again we all waited for the website to let us enter.
Then the page refreshed. It refreshed again. And again. And again. And finally the page for buying tickets appeared.
For the first time since I decided to purchase match tickets (it had been 3 months I think), I saw "find tickets" in front of Pakistan vs India instead of the usual "more info".
Yes. Tickets were on sale!
In less than a minute I had bought 5 tickets for Pakistan vs India at Edgbaston on 15th June.
Within the next 3 minutes I spoke to 3 friends who mentioned that they had also managed to buy tickets. Each one of them bought 8, the maximum allowed. The best part is, without knowing, we all managed to buy tickets for the same RES Wyatt Stand!
So now we have 29 tickets for the Pakistan vs India match on 15th June.
And London, here we come!!
It has been two years since I left the UK and I can't wait to get back to the UK summer, cricket, casinos, london bars, restaurants, Manchester, night clubs, and old friends. It is still two months away, but as one my friends said yesterday, "mentally, I am already there".
London, we are coming.