The second Test between Australia and India, which begins at the Ferozeshah Kotla grounds of Arun Jaitley Stadium, is expected to witness a sizeable crowd as the tickets have been sold out, according to a top official of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
“The response has been tremendous and there has been huge demand for tickets even though this is a Test match [the least popular of all formats for the watching public],” said DDCA joint secretary Rajan Manchanda to Patriot on Tuesday.
The lowest denomination ticket was worth Rs 500.
“Today only, I received a call from a company in Mumbai for an entire corporate box. Companies are looking to purchase boxes. This is unusual for a Test,” added Manchanda.
Test matches in recent times haven’t attracted crowds. The ongoing India-Australia series is, however, bucking the trend. It is partly due to the quality of the teams – both sit on top of ICC World Test Championship table and have recently played hard-fought series.
“As many as 38,000 of the 44,900 tickets of the first Test in Nagpur were sold. Then, 4,000 of them were distributed to schoolchildren,” said Sharad Padhye, an official of Vidarbha Cricket Association.
However, the match couldn’t witness full crowd. The corporate boxes and members’ stands witnessed capacity crowd but other stands were occupied to only half or at best 60% capacity.
According to Siddharth Pratik, a former cricketer and a sports journalist in Nagpur, “Many people had planned to come to the venue from neighbouring areas and watch weekend days — third and fourth. But they didn’t turn up as the match was already out of Australia’s grasp by the end of Day 2 and was expectedly over on the third day itself.”
However, the situation in Delhi is expected to be better as the weekend days would be the second and third days of play.
The turnout is expected to be big also due to the fact that the weather is good to watch cricket in the open. The last Test match played in Delhi, in December 2017, had attracted massive criticism due to excessive pollution levels that had troubled players, especially those from the opposition team Sri Lanka.
This time, pollution is unlikely to be a problem.
The Kotla generally seats around 38,000 people at the most although the actual capacity is just under 42,000. About 1/4th of these tickets are given out to members, officials and other agencies with the conduct of the match depending on the demand.
Australians, Indians land in Delhi
The Australian team landed in the Capital at 1 pm on Tuesday while the Indian team arrived at around 5 pm from Nagpur.
The two teams are scheduled to practice on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the Test.
India lead the four-Test series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Nagpur by an innings and 132 runs.
India have a good record at the Ferozeshah Kotla against Australia in Test matches, having lost just one of the seven matches played between the two sides.
The solitary loss came way back in 1959. Since then, India have won three and drawn three against their opponents from the southern hemisphere.
The last Test played between the two at the ground was back in 2013. It was won by India by six wickets.
The association has also ensured, like in recent matches, cap on the prices of food and water. Water cannot be sold beyond the maximum retail price after complaints by fans were raised last year.