India vs West Indies: Empty stands greet 4th ODI

October heat, exorbitant ticket rates keep spectators away from Rohit Sharma’s 21st ODI ton at the Brabourne Stadium.

Rohit Sharma in action against the Windies at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Monday.   -  AFP

 

There is a popular saying that the love for cricket in Mumbai is so much that even for a junior-level fixture, a good thousand people can be spotted at the ground. But on Monday, as India took the field against the Windies at the Cricket Club of India (CCI)’s Brabourne Stadium, half the stands remained empty.

With the series levelled at 1-1, the organisers had expected the crowd to brave the 36-degree October heat to fill the 23,000 capacity.

While the East Block — where the tickets were priced the lowest (at Rs 800) — was packed, the West and the North blocks were mostly empty.

The exorbitant rates could also be the reason behind the poor attendance. While the West Block tickets were available online for Rs 2,000, the North Stand tickets were priced at Rs 3,000.

On the eve of the match, club officials had claimed that the online portal selling match tickets had slashed prices by Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 for tickets priced at Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 (the premium stand) respectively.

But even an hour after the match started, the new prices didn’t reflect online.

“Being a working day, many fans could not turn up. But things should get better by the evening,” a CCI official said, adding that some tickets could be sold last minute.

While the stands remained empty, the spectators had troubles entering the stadium hours before the match. With no proper coordination between the organisers and the security personnels, there was huge commotion as the spectators could not figure out the right entry points. But things settled down as the match progressed.