Someone, somewhere got it horribly wrong in Hyderabad.
The IPL was billed as this summer extravaganza, which would run to packed houses across the eight cities for almost 50 days. Big hitters, short boundaries, shorter game times, the IPL had, all in all, just about every ingredient to draw the crowds, or at least that’s what it looked like. Well, while that has been the case for most venues, it has been quite the case at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here.
If the turnout was low in the first match here, it was worse for the second on Thursday. The numbers swelled somewhat by the time Andrew Symonds was going bang, bang but the city it seems, has just not taken to their IPL team, choosing instead to follow it on the tube.
So, what has been keeping the fans from the games? Well, different people have different opinions about this lack of home support. While some attributed it to both matches being midweek fixtures, thus making it very difficult for people to come to the ground after a long, hard day’s work, others blamed it on the stadium being a little away from the main city.
“It becomes very tough for a family to come back from office, and then travel all the way here,” said a local. “And plus, public transport is not exactly the smoothest in the city.”
The real reason, however, could be a much more pertinent, and plausible.
The Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium here was one of the major venues for the ICL’s T20 tournament. And though that tournament did not have the big names that the IPL does, the crowds still came in their numbers to watch the games. In fact, most of the matches were played in front of a packed house.
The IPL might be a novel concept for most of the country, but as far as Hyderabadis are concerned, it has hardly anything different to offer from the ICL. This city has already seen T20 cricket under lights, it played host to the big idea of cricket and entertainment coming together in this country, and it lapped it all up.
The IPL obviously hasn’t offered anything that is vastly different from what the ICL had, and even if it has, it hasn’t caught the fancy of Hyderabad just yet.