Poor-turnout at Wankhede

The fourth one-dayer between India and England yesterday witnessed the worst-ever turnout at the Wankhede Stadium since the first Test played in 1975. Approximately 13,000 tickets were sold, according to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). "I have never seen such a low turnout here. We have to seriously look into where we went wrong," said Vinod Deshpande, MCA's Media Manager and a Managing Committee member.

The empty stands at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.

High ticket price (ranging from Rs 1000 to 20,000) has been one of the main reasons for such a low turnout. However, MCA president Vilasrao Deshmukh felt otherwise. "Ticket prices were not very high. People in Mumbai have the capacity to pay that much," Deshmukh told MiD DAY.

"India have already won the series, so this match holds no interest for the public. Absence of superstars like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag is also a factor why people haven't flocked to the stadium. Another reason could be the Diwali festival, which being round the corner," added the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Controversy averted
THE Mumbai Cricket Association averted an unnecessary controversy from erupting yesterday. The fans put up a mammoth Indian flag in the Vijay Merchant upper stand, but after some time, the tri colour was not to be seen. One got a feeling that it may have been done since it was covering the advertising board. When asked, an MCA official said: "The flag was removed because it did not have the Ashok Chakra. That is an insult to the nation. So, we removed it."

The Billy way
UMPIRE Billy Bowden, who has a style of giving batsmen out with a bent finger and has an unmatched decision-making skill, provided some entertainment to the public at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. He performed the famous "crumb sweep" when Kevin Pietersen flicked Varun Aaron's low full toss through the mid-wicket for four in the 15th over. It provided some much-needed burst of entertainment to the public who acknowledged it with a loud cheer and a huge round of applause.

Sachin obsession
IT seems Mumbaikars are obsessed with Sachin Tendulkar and why not, after all, yesterday was the first ODI he missed for India ever since his debut in 1989. Fans just couldn't stop chanting the batting maestro's name as soon as the Indian team took the field.

But the batting great, who was expected to cheer Team India from the stands, wasn't present. MCA, however, had no reason to give for his no-show. To fill in the void, Junior Tendulkar (Arjun) was seen enjoying the game!

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