Sydney, Sept.18 : Tickets for the 2009 Ashes series between England and Australia is proving beyond the reach of many Australian cricket fans.
Warwickshire officials have unveiled a scheme where only members and attendees of recent Edgbaston Test matches are able to apply for tickets to the third Ashes Test.
The first three days have sold out, with Ticketmaster reportedly receiving 78,555 calls within 90 minutes of opening the Edgbaston box office - traffic matched only by Bruce Springsteen and Madonna concerts, and an FA Cup semi-final.
England officials expect similarly high demand when tickets go on sale in November for the Cardiff, Lord's, Headingley and The Oval Tests.
The small capacity of English grounds - Sophia Gardens, the venue controversially chosen to host the first Test, can hold only 15,643 - combined with the proliferation of sports tour companies and the general interest in the series will price many Australian cricket supporters out of the market.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Luke Gillian, operator of the Waving The Flag tour company, as saying that he would not be taking a group to England for the Ashes.
"This is the corporate world we live in. I wanted to get tickets and sell them on for face value, but what chance am I when a big company will pay 00 for that same ticket? I won't be going, and I'm sure a lot of cricket fans will find it really tough to get tickets," Gillian said, a week before leading an 80-strong touring contingent to India for Australia's four-Test series.