New Delhi, Nov 9: For the first time in modern Indian cricket noticed low attendances have become a very big problem. It is clear that the problems persists more in Test matches but now there are low attendances even for one-day internationals instead of the usual full-house. Excessive Cricket and high ticket prices have been the two main hurdles of this major issue.
The 45 000-capacity Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, witnessed Team India crowned World Champions. Immediately after the World Cup, Indian Premier League began and then the tour of West Indies before the tour to England.
The Indians were thrashed 4-0 in the Test series in England, losing their number one ranking, and were blown away 3-0 in the one-dayers.
England were to visit India in what was termed as 'Revenge' series, England were thrashed 5-0 in the ODI Series but lost the lone Twenty20 match at kolkata.
The opening game in Hyderabad had an approximate crowd of 28,150 out of the official capacity of 39,600, according to the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA).
At the second ODI in Delhi, police estimated a crowd of 35,000 out of a capacity of 42,000; other estimates put the attendance at closer to 30,000.
Crowd figures from the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), hosts of the third ODI in Mohali, said about 25,000 of the 27,500 seats were occupied during the match there.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, came from the Wankhede Stadium during the fourth ODI, watched by 18,000 in a stadium that seats 33,000; the MCA said they'd sold 13,000 tickets.
The 63,000-seater Eden Gardens, where the whitewash was completed on Tuesday, was more than half-empty, for the first time in local memory at an India game. The crowd was to be estimated in the region of 28,000 with tickets sales figures the night before the match being put down at 5868 by the Cricket Association of Bengal.
Experts blamed the festive season of Diwali for less crowds whereas some said too much cricket being played at such short period of time is not appropriate. Low crowds at the Wankhede Stadium were due to absence of Master-Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
Spectators are also forced to wait for hours to pass through security checks, Inadequate concession stalls run out of supplies when thirst and hunger strike at fans after a game of six to seven hours.
Soon after the England whitewash, the Windies visited India for 3 test match series along with five ODI match series. Another long series to be played in India.
India won the first Test by five wickets. Crowds at the Feroz Shah Kotla gathered to witness iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar score his 100th ton but fell short of 24 runs. The Kotla can accommodate 42,000 spectators and barely 10,000 had watched the match on the opening day.
Fans were disappointed as there was only a single ticket counter a good 10 minutes walk away with long queues at the counter people were tempted to buy tickets in black priced double or triple the actual amount for Rs. 200 and Rs 300.
Reports suggest that Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) will cut prices for the third Test against West Indies. However the reduction in ticket prices is not due to lower turnouts but through smart-pricing they are planning to attract a large number which is not easy especially for a Test match.
With many more games to be played this series empty seats are a big worry for organisers, despite the performance against England, return of star players to the team after injury, a full-house crowd is likely to be rare for Indian games.