Test cricket returned to the Wankhede Stadium after five years yesterday, but the first day of the India vs West Indies match registered probably the lowest turn-out in a five-day game at the Churchgate venue.
Keeping tickets rates as low as Rs 50 for a day's play also could not lure Mumbaikars to flock the stadium. "It has probably to do with too much of cricket being played these days," reasoned former Mumbai skipper Milind Rege. "Nowadays, cricket is easily accessible either on the TV or internet. Also, the West Indian team lacks star power. People like to see top cricketers in action," he added.
The India-England ODI held here last month too witnessed a poor turn-out. "It (poor crowd turn-out) may be because India have already won the Test series and there is no real contest left between the two teams. But we are expecting people to turn up when India bats," said Mumbai Cricket Association treasurer Ravi Savant.
Former India pacer Karsan Ghavri said: "Our administrators should not take this lightly. Cricketers like to play in front of a packed house. It is a big motivating factor. We have to ensure people flock to the stadiums again," said Ghavri, who made his debut for India in 1974-75, the very season Wankhede hosted its first Test.