The ticket sale for the league matches at Wankhede stadium began on Thursday without the expected rush and long queues at the counters, much to the disappointment of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) that often receives flak from the general public for selling fewer tickets at the sports facility.
The MCA authorities expected that the curious crowds would at least be eager to see the renovated facility, if not the fixtures between New Zealand and Canada, or New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Two vans of policemen were deployed outside the Bombay Hockey Association office for crowd control, but when the ticket sale began at 9 am, hardly a few people were spotted at counters in Churchgate.
One of the persons at the ticket counter said, "We were expecting a snaking queue of people outside the counters. Though we were aware that the upcoming match between Canada and New Zealand won't be a crowd puller, we were expecting that people would come in hoards to see the renovated stadium."
Lalchand Rajput, joint secretary of the MCA, said, "Seeing the overwhelming response to online sale, we were expecting people to come in hoards and buy tickets. Till 1 pm, almost 150-200 tickets for the match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka (scheduled on March 18) were sold, but there were only a few takers for Canada vs New Zealand."
The police official in charge on the site said, "The matches scheduled at Wankhede will apparently not attract much crowd as India is not playing in any of them. But we are not taking chances and have deployed forces to avoid any untoward incident." The cricket crazy crowds may not be hot on cheering the Canada-New Zealand match, but a group of college students got tickets to see the renovated stadium while a match is in progress.
Anant Jawadwar, a BPharma student said, "The tickets cost only Rs 250 and I am buying tickets for the Canada match because I want to see the revamped stadium."
Anant's classmate Wasim Andurkar chipped in, "There have been a lot of talks about the revamped stadium. So when it is open for the public, I don't want to miss the chance. I don't know whether I will get the tickets for the finals, so going in for the match now."
Ratnakar Shetty, treasurer of the MCA said, "The crowd was low may be because the league matches won't be of much interest to the Indian crowd. There was not much crowd on the first day but we did sell quite a few tickets." Nearly 450 tickets were sold for New Zealand vs Sri Lanka match, while 302 tickets were booked for Canada vs New Zealand. "The sale of tickets for the second match would pick up in the coming days. Had it been India playing, the tickets would have got sold like hotcakes."