M A I N   N E W S

While Formula One attracted 95,000 fans, Kotla Test just 9,000 

New Delhi, November 6
The hype around Sachin Tendulkar’s impending 100th international century failed to attract a handsome crowd on the first day of the Test match against the West Indies, thanks to the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) that kept its ticket counters closed citing it being a Sunday.

Last Sunday, a record 95,000 fans hysterically embraced India's latest fascination, Formula One. This Sunday in stark contrast just 9,000 turned up at the 42,000-seater Ferozshah Kotla at a time when dwindling crowds in Test matches is bothering even the International Cricket Council (ICC).

DDCA secretary general S.P. Bansal told IANS that the counters were kept closed since it was a holiday but hoped some 16,000 fans would turn up Monday, when India are expected to bat.

"I think 9,000 is a good number on Sunday. We expect around 16,000 fans Monday, which is also a government holiday,” said Bansal.

A low-profile series against a lowly-ranked West Indies side was never expected to draw huge crowd to the ground but Tendulkar’s 100th international century is the main attraction of the series.

West Indies great Jeff Dujon, who is here as a commentator for the host broadcaster, fondly remembered the days when fans packed stadiums during the team's past tours to the sub-continent.

"I have never seen a sparse crowd in our days. It is sad that Test cricket is losing its fans," he said. Three years ago, Tendulkar broke the record of West Indies legend Brian Lara to become the highest run scorer in Tests in front of a near empty stadium in Mohali that even gave the blues to ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

Tendulkar could well be seen achieving another milestone in front of a sparse crowd because of an overdose of cricket and the apathy of the cricket administrators.

There was mad a rush among fans for tickets during the World Cup but since then there has been a noticeable decline in crowds during matches in India. Initially, there was some enthusiasm in the IPL, which started six days after India's World Cup triumph, but soon not only the ad rates fell but fans also started to stay away from the ground. Empty stands were a noticeable feature not only during the Champions League Twenty20 but also during the return ODI series against England, which turned out to be a pretty one-sided affair in favour of India. — IANS




Dhoni goes past Kirmani

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni completed another milestone as he pipped Syed Kirmani to become the Indian wicketkeeper with highest number of dismissals in his kitty.

Dhoni stumped Kraigg Brathwaite off Pragyan Ojha's bowling to bag his 199th victim in his 62nd Test match --- one more than Kirmani who represented India in 88 Tests.

Among Dhoni's 199 victims, 173 are caught behind and 26 are stumpings. — PTI





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |