The poor crowd turnout for the fourth one-day international between India and England and the empty stands made for a depressing sight at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. It is almost unbelievable, considering the home team are the reigning world champions and this was the first international fixture in Mumbai after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men clinched the ICC World Cup final on April 2 by beating Sri Lanka. Moreover, though Alastair Cook's England team were 0-3 down before the match, they are still an entertaining side.
Mumbai cricket enthusiasts reckoned that this was the first first time they witnessed a one-day international in the city with so many unoccupied seats. Did spectators find the tickets too costly for their liking, or is it a case of too much of a good thing? A bit of both, probably.
East Stand tickets were priced at Rs 1,000, Rs 4,000 for the upper bay, while North and West Stand tickets were sold for Rs 2,000. By all accounts, these rates are pretty stiff. Too much cricket is an aspect that also deserves consideration. After the World Cup, Mumbai hosted some Indian Premier League games before Team India toured West Indies. Then came the long and winless Test and one-day series in England.
Cricket administrators would do well to see the bigger picture and fix an affordable price for a seven-hour gig. This should also serve as a lesson for the administrators who believe that there will be takers for the sport despite the arrogant manner in which they run the game.
Further, there is simply not enough for the average spectator in India. The administrators need to look after their own comforts as well as the entertainment needs of the people. For starters, how about some entertainment in the innings break for the fans, just like they do in England and Australia?