The game was rendered irrelevant after India took an unassailable lead by winning the first two games of the heavily one-sided series.
India is set to host the ODI World Cup later this year, and the many empty chairs at the Greenfield International Stadium didn’t do well.
“…But don’t worry about me, half-empty stadium? Will cricket ever die?” India’s 2011 World Cup winning hero Yuvraj asked on Twitter that Shubman Gill closed out a century in the company of Virat Kohli, who went unbeaten on a scintillating 110-ball 166.
Well done @ShubmanGill hopefully makes a 💯 @imVkohli at bat on the other end that looks solid! But conc… https://t.co/pRSGEj8hhu
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) 1673775007000
The stadium, which saw a full house in its only other ODI – a rain-swept match between India and West Indies in 2018 – looked almost desolate thanks to the lukewarm response from locals.
Only around 17,000 spectators showed up at the 38,000-seat stadium for Sunday’s game. This included free pass holders, vendors, those in corporate lodges and those with accreditation.
Kerala Cricket Association media director Krishna Prasad blamed it on several factors, including a “lack of interest” in ODIs.
“We never had a half-empty stadium. There are several reasons. We don’t see much interest in ODIs these days,” Prasad told PTI.
“Also, the series was finished and dusted in Kolkata (India taking an unassailable 2-0 lead), and with the opponents being Sri Lanka, many people chose not to come to the stadium.”
Tickets were priced at Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 for the match.
“There wasn’t a single ticket left during the game against the West Indies. It was a rainy game and we couldn’t see the full action for 50 overs, but people filled the stadium,” recalls Prasad.
With the exception of Eden Gardens where over 55,000 people showed up, the series was marked by low attendance. Even Guwahati, a place known for attracting large crowds, was far from full.
Barsapara Stadium, which witnessed a high-scoring game with India posting 373/7, hosted around 25,000 people in a 38,000-seat hall.
An Assam Cricket Association (ACA) official had blamed it on the high ticket prices and the fact that the match was staged on a weekday.
Except for a few tickets which were given to students for Rs 475, prices ranged from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000.