London: A thin crowd would welcome England's Ashes heroes, in their first appearance on home soil since beating Australia, when they take on Sri Lanka in the first Test in Cardiff starting May 26.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is anxious about the attendance because Cardiff and Swansea could meet in the Football League Championship play-off final at Wembley over the same Bank Holiday weekend.
The Mirror reported that none of the five days have been sold out and the ECB have had to launch an advertising campaign to drive sales above their baseline budget figure.
England's Ashes hero Ian Bell paid an ambassadorial visit to Cardiff 12 days ago to make a sales pitch for the 2011 season's international curtain-raiser.
"All the England players love coming to Cardiff - it's a great place to start the summer. When you come to the Swalec stadium as a county player to face Glamorgan, you always know it will be an intimidating but knowledgeable crowd - and I know from experience it's better to have that support on your side," Bell was quoted as saying during his trip.
It is a sheer coincidence that England's cricket team start their international campaign on the same weekend when their Test sponsor, npower, stage the richest game in club football at Wembley, worth an estimated 90 million pounds to the winners.