The idea of the World Cup organisers to allow free entry of schoolchildren to non-India games has not gone as per plan.
The Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), for instance, claims it has not even heard about it. "Nobody has even informed us about it. Had we been told, we could have made some arrangements to distribute free tickets to schoolchildren for non-India games," said its vice-president Chetan Chauhan, while watching the Canada-Kenya match being played out in front of a sparse crowd at the Ferozshah Kotla.
The tournament organising committee had anticipated a poor turnout for the non-India games, especially for those between non-Test playing teams, and had therefore come up with the idea of allowing free entry to schoolchildren.
"We have decided to distribute free tickets among students. We have lots of sponsorship schemes through which we will be distributing the tickets. State associations will also have some quota for the students. We want the state associations to throw their gates open for the students," Tournament Director Ratnakar Shetty had said in Delhi before the tournament.
Yet, except for Nagpur, the staging associations appear to have junked the idea. In Nagpur, the state association made the effort to reach out to schools; and the response was good.
Asked why the plan wasn't implemented at all venues, ICC media director Colin Gibson said: "It was being managed by individual state associations." The state bodies are either clueless or not willing to go that far to bring in crowds. "Even if we had known this, we couldn't have allowed them in without tickets for security reasons. Besides, the High Court allows us only 10,000 complimentary tickets and we might have had to pay entertainment tax on the free tickets to students," said Chauhan.