An international game in Pune has been a long time coming. Besides, it was the first-ever international game at the Subroto Roy Stadium, located on the outskirts of the city. Going by the crowd response, the excitement among the locals did not seem to hit the expected levels.
The previous occasion the Puneites enjoyed international cricket action was in 2005, when India beat Sri Lanka in an ODI at the Nehru Stadium.
Those who were at the venue would remember that there was a mad rush to catch a glimpse of the action. Since then, Pune has had a new stadium, which even hosted the Pune Warriors India in the 2012 IPL season.
On Thursday, when India clashed with England in a T20I at the new stadium, the expected frenzy for the shortest format of the game was missing, and so were the serpentine queues outside the stadium.
Though the stadium had around 75% attendance, the empty patches of the blue bucket chairs did not make for a pretty picture.
“The lowest tickets are priced at Rs. 750 and they are very limited. Besides, quite a few tickets, which come with hospitality, are priced up to Rs.75000,” a Maharashtra Cricket Association official told HT. “If we do not have a full house for T20 games, what do we expect for the longer versions?”
With the cheapest tickets at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, for the second T20I on Saturday, priced at Rs.300, the match is expected to be a full house.
“Already 90% of our tickets are sold out. We are expecting a very good response,” Vinod Deshpande, Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president, told HT.