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India vs West Indies: Absence of big crowd mars contest in Port of Spain

The first ODI between India vs West Indies in Port of Spain has been marred by the absence of large crowds and the lack of a carnival atmosphere at the ground.

india vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jun 24, 2017 00:10 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Port of Spain
India vs West Indies,India national cricket team,West Indies cricket team
The famous Trini Posse stand, where the DJ normally provides a carnival atmosphere during cricket matches, was absent during the India vs West Indies match in Port of Spain.(HT Photo)

One of the reasons other national boards go out of their way to invite the Indian cricket team is because of the interest it generates back home. Additionally, the presence of Indian superstars guarantees a crowd that helps generate decent gate money. It happens in England, Australia, and even in South Africa. (INDIA vs WEST INDIES UPDATES) (INDIA vs WEST INDIES SCORECARD)

However, the first ODI between India and West Indies at the Queen’s Park Oval here on Friday was marked by a shocking absence of crowd interest.

Most strikingly, the landmark Trini Posse stand, commonly known as the party stand, where there is always a DJ playing live music and the incessant beat of steel drums whip up a party-like atmosphere with food and drinks flowing, was completely vacant.

In fact, there were barely a hundred fans in the entire stadium watching the first ODI, at least in the first half of the match as India were asked to bat first.

No local flavour

The West Indies cricket board’s high-handedness in dealing with superstars, many of them locals like Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Dwayne and Darren Bravo, has left only little-known players representing the regional side in recent times. That has robbed this game off any spectator interest.

Empty stands and absence of some prominent Trinidad players in West Indies have resulted in the fans staying away from the contest. ( AFP )

The board went as far as forcing the abandonment of a warm-up game between the local Trinidad and Tobago side and West Indies last week, which is now believed to have been done because the T&T side had picked Dwayne Bravo in their side.

The Bravos, Pollard and Narine all play for the local club based out of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club and their absence has not gone down well with the local cricket authorities.

Not many tickets

Quite interestingly, a couple of people had already bought tickets for the Trini Posse stand and were seen trying to sell them outside, apparently in black.

On Thursday, the eve of this match, there were barely a handful of fans at the ticket counter even though only a handful of tickets had been put up for sale.

Still, the Indian superstars are big enough to have pulled in the crowd. Surprisingly, their presence has failed to do it. There were no crowds pestering the Indian players on Thursday too after practice with only one or two seeking MS Dhoni’s autograph.

In March, Pakistan had played three out of their four T20I matches at this venue and it was almost packed. Of course, Narine and Pollard had both played then as they are in the T20I squad.

A bigger crowd is, however, expected for Sunday’s second ODI.

First Published: Jun 24, 2017 00:09 IST