Vuvuzelas, tickets in black, Wankhede buzz show Test cricket alive and kicking | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Vuvuzelas, tickets in black, Wankhede buzz show Test cricket alive and kicking

After an attendance of 22,600 on Saturday, almost 23,000 filled the stands at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday, creating a spectacular atmosphere.

cricket Updated: Dec 12, 2016 01:29 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
After an attendance of 22,600 on Saturday, almost 23,000 filled the stands at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday, creating a spectacular atmosphere.
After an attendance of 22,600 on Saturday, almost 23,000 filled the stands at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday, creating a spectacular atmosphere.(Photo by: Deepak Malik/ BCCI/ SPORTZPICS)

Vuvuzelas blared, Mexican waves went around and the ‘Kohli, Kohli’ chant rent the air, not to speak of fans happy to buy tickets in the black, the Wankhede Stadium was a perfect advertisement for Test cricket. After an attendance of 22,600 on Saturday, almost 23,000 filled the stands on Sunday, creating a spectacular atmosphere. (Highlights | Scorecard)

The response from the fans was all the more impressive considering that for the first time no Mumbai player is part of the India team for a Test here. After the poor turnout at Rajkot, Visakhapatnam and Mohali, the Mumbai game has proved that interest in Test cricket is still alive.

With a day to go, the Mumbai Cricket Association has already raked in R3.2 crore in ticket collection, a lot more than their target of R2.5 crore, informed a managing committee member.

TICKETS IN BLACK

Never mind the challenges of demonetisation, Shashikant Kolte and his four friends from Vasai, about 70 km from the Churchgate venue, had bought North Zone tickets for the day in black, each for R500. “The original ticket price is around R250 for the day, (but) we were happy to pay 500,” said the 45-year-old accountant. “This is the first time I have come to watch a Test match and I have loved the experience. Kohli’s double and Jayant’s century was great to watch.”

This is the first time I have come to watch a Test match and I have loved the experience. Kohli’s double and Jayant’s century was great to watch

For all the advertisement that the broadcasters and organisers can do, it’s ultimately the charisma of the players that draws the crowds. The Sachin Tendukar mania remains unmatched but India is lucky that Virat Kohli is evoking the kind of frenzy that’s reminiscent of the days of the Mumbai legend. When Cheteshwar Pujara fell to the second delivery of the day on Saturday, it led to commotion among the people who had queued up outside because they got desperate to hurry in to watch Kohli. “Virat is the main man after Sachin, he was a treat to watch,” said 35-year-old Ashwini Limbani, a civil contractor, who attended the 2012 India versus England game here too.

Adding colour to the ambience was the many families in attendance. Andheri resident Mousmi Sampat, who was present with her husband and daughters, aged 11 and seven, said: “My daughters love cricket and being a Sunday we wanted them to experience the atmosphere of Wankhede. Kohli and Yadav made their day.”

Uday Naik, a businessman from Andheri, was there with his wife and two daughters. “I have been following Test cricket from the days of Malcolm Marshall and have got my family here for the first time. We enjoyed the day, though the experience can be even better with facilities for serving water and food.”

Despite the hiding their team is receiving, the England fans are also having a good time. Nick Allison from Cornwall said: “Nothing compares to watching cricket in India, the crowds are so lively. Even though England were on the receiving end, I loved the noise here. It’s my third time at Wankhede and I look forward to coming back every time. The first three centres were quiet but here obviously India batted all day and their hero Virat got a double hundred.”