Rain prevents fans from flocking to the iconic Eden Gardens

Hardly a thousand spectators followed the rain-affected opening two days of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka.

Water-logged covers on Day Two of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka.   -  K. R. Deepak

The stands that would normally be packed for the India games at the Eden Gardens wore a forlorn look. Hardly a thousand spectators followed the rain-affected opening two days of the first Test here.

Had the fans reacted adversely to an overkill of the India-Sri Lanka matches? Or was the inclement weather the principal cause for people not venturing out to this iconic stadium?

A. Subramanian, a committee member of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), said to Sportstar, “The weather is the main reason. Fans knew play on both days would be heavily curtailed due to rain. They stayed home.”

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He said Test cricket continued to draw crowds in Kolkata. “During the India-New Zealand Test here in 2016, around 26,000-odd spectators turned up at the stadium when India batted. Test cricket remains popular here but the weather this time has been a huge deterrent for the cricket loving public.”

Affordable tickets

The capacity at the Eden Gardens, after permanent seats were installed in every stand, is now lesser at around 63,000. Out of this, about 25,000 are in open stands where the spectators are exposed to nature. If the weather is fine, the occupancy rate in these stands is generally healthy.

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Subramanian said, “The tickets here are very affordable. The lowest season ticket is priced at Rs. 500, which is only Rs. 100 per day. We have also given free tickets to emerging cricketers at the various academies. If the weather improves, as the forecast says, the spectators will surely come.”

Hopefully, the fans will turn up at the lovely Eden Gardens in the remaining three days. The weather holds the key.