New Delhi: Nov 6, 2011
The Delhi crowd continued to stay away from cricket as just 8,000 people turned up for the first Test between India and the West Indies despite the hype surrounding Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international ton.
According to official figures, 8058 people turned up on the opening day of the the first of the three-match Test series at the 40,000 capacity Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here.
Despite being a Sunday, sparse crowd occupied most of the stands except for the lowest tier of the East Stand (Wing C) which was almost full. The crowd though could have been more had India batted first instead of the West Indies.
The low turnout continued to highlight the fans' lack of interest in cricket as the stadium did not have capacity crowd in the one-day international between India and England last month. The stadium was just half-full in the second ODI of the five-match series on October 17.
According to a cricket website, fans complained of their inability to buy tickets for the first day of the ongoing match at the venue as there was no counter at the stadium and many, who wanted to buy non-seasonal match-day tickets, had to return empty-handed.
"This counter was at the Ambedkar Stadium but was shifted to Asaf Ali Road because the police said crowd management will be a problem," Delhi and District Cricket Association Media Manager Ravi Jain said.
Tendulkar though continued to be the cynosure of all eyes of the small number that turned out and whenever he fielded at the boundary, the crowd cheered him.
Twice in the morning session, when he fielded at the backward square boundary, spectators at the Eastern Stand ran down from their seats and cheered the batting maestro, standing near the iron grill which separated the ground and the stands, waving the tri-colour.
Even when he was fielding at mid-on region, the crowd cheered and waved at him whenever he turned his face towards the stands. (PTI)