Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Lowest turnout at Eden

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Kolkata: It was an unusual Eden Gardens on Tuesday. Known the world over for its cricket mad spectators who always scramble for tickets to savour the ball-willow battle at the colosseum like stadium, the venue recorded its lowest ever attendance for the fifth ODI between India and England.

Less than a third of the 67,300 capacity stadium was filled as India and England battled it out in the 22 yards in the fifth and final match of the series.

“I think the turnout is about 20,000,” local organisers Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) treasurer Bablu Ganguly said at around 3.30 p.m.

What is interesting is that the CAB has 24,000 members who are entitled to free tickets.

“Eighteen thousand of them have taken their tickets,” he said.

CAB joint secretary Biswarup Dey put the lack of spectator interest on the pre-Diwali festivities and the dead rubber.

While the local sports buffs may have largely stayed away from the match, the early birds at the stadium had something extra to cheer for.

It was the sight of their favourite Dada coming into the middle with the pitch report for the official television broadcaster, which made the handful of spectators break into spontaneous applause.

It was the first time Sourav Ganguly had performed the commmentating role in his city, and on the ground where he grew up as a cricketer.

“This match is of little consequence. But this is something memorable. I will go back home with something extra to relate to my friends,” said college student Subhro Saha.

With the match recording thin attendance, the youths who make money by selling the tri-colour, mouth paint and Indian team jerseys at the ground during international matches were a dejected lot.

“Every time I make a few thousands. But this time it will be only a few hundreds,” said Saikat Dey, who came all the way from Barrackpore in neighbouring North 24 Parganas district.

“Normally, we sell one tri-colour between Rs 60 and Rs 100. But this time I had to sell it for as low as Rs 40,” he said.

Biswa Bose, also from Barrackpore, was absolutely heartbroken. The 20-year-old youth had travelled all of 25 km with a large quantity of body paint. “Only one spectator used it,” he lamented. (IANS)

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