New Delhi: For a country like India, where cricket is billed to be a religion, the sparse crowds in stadium have watered down the sporting spirit of the country. The low turnout of spectators in the matches against West Indies and recently concluded India-England series has become a matter of concern.

The matches played so far in 2011have witnessed low turnouts of cricket buffs.  Stadiums could not be filled to its capacity. Cricket lovers in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata preferred to stay away from the stadiums during the matches between England and India.

The first Test match of the ongoing West Indies tour of India, witnessed a very low presence. The next two matches to be held in Eden Gardens (Kolkata) and Wankhede (Mumbai) are receiving a cold response as far as ticket selling is concerned.

Devendra Prabhudesai of Mumbai Cricket Association said, “West Indies is not all exciting for Indian cricket lovers, had it been a series with Pakistan, the tickets would have sold like hot cake.”

The upcoming five ODI series starting from November 29 is likely to meet the same fate with no buyers for the tickets. The ODI series are scheduled to take place at Cuttack, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmadabad, Indore and Chennai. 

Niranjan Shah, a cricket lover, said, “Cricket matches scheduled in metro one after another will only fetch low turn outs resulting in empty stands. Instead, matches can be scheduled in small cities so that people would catch for matches in considerable numbers.”

Indian Grand Prix held in late October was hailed by the Indian sports lovers and managed to gather number of spectators from all around world. About 1, 00,000 visited the Buddh International Circuit for the race.

A researcher in Media expertise and Mass Executive Monitoring, Robin Acharya, said, “How long will cricket excite people, over dosing of the cricket will not help. Indian sports lover now want something new.”

India won the World Cup final at the Wankhede in April this year, triggering a nationwide celebration. Thereafter players headed straight to the Indian Premier League (IPL), then a tour of the West Indies, before going to England. The over dose of cricket matches in the past few months has led to the pathetic plight of empty seats during cricket matches.

JPN/Bureau