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Few takers even for cheap tickets

This is not how Anjinkya Rahane would have liked to play his first game at the Wankhede Stadium. He’s been at international games here before, as a spectator and sometimes as a ball boy, and the atmosphere has always been electric.

cricket Updated: Oct 23, 2011 23:57 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

This is not how Anjinkya Rahane would have liked to play his first game at the Wankhede Stadium. He’s been at international games here before, as a spectator and sometimes as a ball boy, and the atmosphere has always been electric.

The mad rush for tickets is like at no other venue and the decibel levels the fans work up makes it impossible to communicate even for the players in the middle. After all, the city is known as the Mecca of Indian cricket. To Rahane’s luck, the famous arena was unrecognisable from how it was when the World Cup final was played here in April.

Blame it on the absence of big names like Sachin Tendulkar or an overkill of cricket, after the PCA Stadium in Mohali, the Wankhede witnessed the poorest turnout of the series so far.

In the 33,000 capacity stadium, almost half the seats were vacant. And the spectators included 5% complimentary ticket holders. Only the lower level of the East Stand was full from the start.

Others, the North and Vijay Merchant, and the upper tier of the Divecha Stand, were virtually empty.

ALL-TIME LOW
“I have been coming to the stadium since its first game in 1974, but have never seen such a low turnout for an India game, not even for Tests,” said Mumbai Cricket Association managing committee member Vinod Deshpande.

However, the MCA did not suffer a loss. It had already made a profit by raking in around R2 crore from instadia branding. The ones who suffered losses were affiliated clubs that had bought their quota of tickets (a total of 6,000).

“We (Clubs) had got tickets for Rs 2000 for the Sachin Tendulkar Stand. We were ready to sell them for R500 but there were no takers," said a club official.

The poor response did not entirely surprise Deshpande. “The cost of tickets were high and glamour players Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Zaheer were absent. Gambhir and Kohli don't have the same appeal. If Tendulkar had played, it would have been houseful. Also, there has been an overdose of cricket.”