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Where's the crowd?

india Updated: Sep 23, 2012 00:31 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times
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The teams have been playing here for nearly 10 days and it's Day Five of the tournament proper, but Saturday was the first time the R Premadasa Stadium saw a sizeable crowd in the stands.

Despite the presence of the most destructive batsman in the world --- Chris Henry Gayle --- the stadium only filled up towards the end of the first innings. For a format hyped for its entertainment value, the 2012 World T20 has surprisingly taken a lot of time to warm up.

The lukewarm response to the event has been despite the advertising blitz all over the Colombo city. The roundabouts have life-size cutouts of stars and there are billboards at various vantage points with catchy punch-lines like, 'The world is playing' and "Twenty times the action, twenty times the cricket'.

The main purpose behind an India-Pakistan warm-up game was to attract attention for the event. Despite all the action and drama, it failed to provide the expected wave of excitement.

The tickets have been suitably priced too, starting at US $0.25 for the single group games and the final itself has tickets ranging between $2.50 to $45.

The inaugural World T20 in 2007 was also meandering along till Yuvraj Singh provided the spark with his six sixes in an over against England at Durban.

The Colombo crowd got a taste of slam-bang cricket when Gayle (33-ball 54) got going against Australia. Will it be the moment that will get the crowds going?

The organisers will be thankful to the West Indian if that happens.