Saurashtra Cricket Association has only sold 10 per cent of tickets for the series opener between India and West Indies beginning at its 25,000 capacity stadium, in Rajkot, on Thursday, in another poor advert for Test cricket.
This, at a time when other state units are haggling for complimentary passes for the following ODI series.
While the second India-West Indies ODI has been shifted to Visakhapatnam from Indore after a dispute between the state body and Board of Control for Cricket in India over distribution of complimentary passes, SCA is doling out freebies to fill its stadium which is only hosting its second ever Test.
"The situation sadly is opposite here (compared to other state units hosting ODIs). Rajkot is not a big city like Delhi and Mumbai and we were expecting a decent turnout in a smaller city like Rajkot. Right now, it doesn't seem to be the case as just over 2000 tickets have been sold. But we don't know why people are not showing interest. Hopefully, the sales pick up over the weekend," veteran administrator Niranjan Shah said.
Shah, who currently holds no official post in SCA after being at the helm for more than four decades, is overseeing preparation for the series opener. SCA has even distributed the tickets to players, men and women, in all districts of the region to boost attendance.
"According to BCCI diktat, 10 percent of match tickets are reserved for school kids. So they will be attending too. Having said that, it is unfortunate that people are not showing interest," Shah added.
The cheapest ticket on sale costs Rs 100. As per the new BCCI constitution, 90 per cent tickets of the total capacity of the stadium must be put on public sale, which effectively leaves 10 per cent of complimentary tickets with state units.