Consider the scenario: An inaugural Test match of the series against the world Number 1 team; India batting first and tickets rates kept as low as Rs 200 for season ticket for the student block.
But none of the ingredients were enough to entice the crowd to the venue.
PCA is always choked to its capacity for the IPL and ODI matches, but somehow the longer format of the game has failed to evoke the same response.
Less than a 1000 people were present at the start which grew to around 1500 as the day progressed, at a venue which has the seating capacity of 27,000.
“What’s the fun of coming here to bake under the sun, when one can watch the match from comforts of the home. I came here because my 12-year-old is big Virat Kohli fan. But Kohli also disappointed today,” said Sanjeev Yadav, pointing to the open stands which leave fans exposed to the elements.
India struggles on a first day pitch, which kept low and was slow, also didn’t help the matters.
Even the most coveted tickets like Pavilion Terrace, box and AC lounge prices were slashed and ranged from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3500 but the apathy was witnessed across the board.
The local association’s attempt to try and sell tickets to local academies and schools in bulk also didn’t seem to have worked. But one’s present at the venue like Harminder Thakur, who had come all the way from Hisar in Haryana, along with two friends said that it was easy for them to come and watch as they anticipated less crowd which meant hassle free entry.
“If you try and come for an ODI or a T20 at one point going through traffic jams and endless security checks it becomes hopeless. But we decided to come for Test as we could enjoy the game better. Then again it’s (Test) not for everyone. Sometimes you watch for five days and result is a draw, while both ODI’s and T20’s are result oriented,” he said.
But compared to the other venues like Kolkata, Chennai and even Nagpur, PCA has failed miserably to draw the crowd.
Even during the last Test match which India played against Australia in 2013 the crowd was sparse. PCA on its part said that fans are still interested and from tomorrow there will be better response. “We have kept the tickets prices low and the counter will remain open on Day 2 and Day 3 also. We sold around 5,000 tickets so maybe we will get a better response from tomorrow,” said GS Walia, the PCA secretary.