Hyderabad, Aug 22: With their favourite cricketer not in action from Thursday, fans in Hyderabad are showing little interest in queuing up to buy tickets for the first Test between India and New Zealand here.
Hyderabad's beloved batsman, VVS Laxman surprised one and all by announcing his retirement from international cricket last Saturday even after being picked for the two-match home series against New Zealand.
Now, the effects of Laxman's departure from the game are showing. Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) is finding it tough to bring the crowds for the first Test which begins at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium from Thursday, August 23.
It would have been a fitting farewell for one of the greats of the game to bow out in front of home fans. But Laxman decided otherwise and left the cricket field "with immediate effect."
A PTI report said, according to the HCA sources, only 2,500 tickets have been sold for the match in a 39,000 capacity stadium.
"We would be happy to see a crowd of 7,000 to 10,000. Ticket sales have been poor and the retirement of Laxman has compounded the woes," HCA executive committee member, Gerard Carr was quoted as saying the PTI report.
"The Test match viewership is going down. But we expected the crowd to fill up to see a last glimpse of Laxman in India colours. But it won't happen. Tickets worth around Rs. 10 lakh have been sold for the entire five-day duration. This, however, does not include the online booking. We hope the crowd to fill up during the weekend," he added.
This will be only the second Test match to be held at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. The previous five-day game was between the same two sides, India and New Zealand in November, 2010, which ended in a draw.