Empty stands at Kotla worries BCCI

The BCCI is keen to ensure stands do not remain empty at the Feroz Shah Kotla as it had been during the IPL Eliminator on Wednesday. The board is learnt to have asked the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association to pick up 2,900 tickets for the upcoming IPL fixture between Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Kolkata Knight Riders' Jason Holder celebrates a wicket in front of empty seats at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the IPL Eliminator on Wednesday.   -  PTI

Piqued with the sight of empty galleries at the Feroz Shah Kotla for the Sunrisers Hyderabad-Kolkata Knight Riders Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Wednesday, the Board is learnt to have asked the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) to pick up 2,900 tickets for the upcoming encounter on Friday when Sunrisers will meet Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 2.

This season has seen a rapid fall in attendance in most venues. The turnout at Raipur, the adopted home for Delhi Daredevils, Mohali and Visakhapatnam, which hosted the matches that moved out of Pune and Mumbai due to drought conditions in Maharashtra, had caused concern to the authorities.

Overkill of T20 cricket – the IPL started within five days of the ICC World Twenty20 – was said to be the reason for the growing disinterest of this brand of cricket. Various IPL franchises are known to distribute complimentary tickets in order to get the fans to the stadium but this edition has suffered on account of attendance.

Unusual

Full houses at IPL, with all the glitz and glamour, had been the norm since the birth of the league in 2008. In recent times, many venues have had empty seats glaring at the authorities. The Kotla presented a sight that did not go down well with some top Board officials.

The DDCA, assuming it follows the directive of the parent body, would have to guard against surpassing the 10,000-complimentary ticket cap put by the High Court. Presently the DDCA receives 7,000-odd complimentary passes to be distributed to authorities, members and first-class players, men and women.

The DDCA would also have to shell out approximately eight lakh as taxes levied on the sale of tickets it ends up buying.

In a gesture to accommodate school kids, the Justice Mudgal Committee in charge of supervising the conduct of the matches is distributing 150 tickets to students. “Can’t the cash-rich Board buy these tickets and distribute them among poor children,” asked a DDCA official.

A state unit buying tickets for a tournament conducted by its parent body reflects on the 'popularity' of the competition at some venues.