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'Crowds are looking very poor at World Cup': Former England skipper lashes out on audience attendance in WC

The 2023 World Cup opener was reportedly attended by over 45000 people. The organisers did not reveal the number but around 45000 tickets were sold for the England vs New Zealand opening encounter.

Written By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Updated on: October 08, 2023 16:51 IST
Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Image Source : TWITTER Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

The 2023 ODI World Cup kickstarted in India with the 2019 finalists England and New Zealand taking on each other in the first match in Ahmedabad on October 5. The 50-over World Cup returned to India for the first time since 2011 and India is hosting the tournament alone for the very first time. The tournament is expected to be a strong crowd-puller considering the sport's popularity in the nation.

However, fans took to social media as they shared pictures of stadiums not being filled to a satisfactory capacity in the non-India games. Notably, former cricketers are reverberating them and are also going hard for the lack of audience on the grounds. Former England captain Michael Vaughan has now lashed out over the audience attendance.

"Crowds are looking very poor at the World Cup .. Surely we should be giving tickets away to make sure the stands are full," Vaughan wrote on X (formerly Twitter). As seen in the recent non-India World Cup games, the footfall seems to be lower than expected.

Notably, former cricketers Virender Sehwag, Michael Atherton and Ravi Shastri also spoke on the issue during the England vs New Zealand clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, there was visibly a low crowd turn-out. Posting on X, Sehwag said, "Hopefully after office hours, there should be more people coming in. But for games not featuring Bharat, there should be free tickets for school and college children. With the fading interest in 50 over game, it will definitely help that youngsters get to experience a World Cup game and players get to play in front of a full stadium."

Atherton had a point that the host nation should be playing the opening games as it brings the footfall. Shastri agreed. "In the last few years, the hosts have started. England began against South Africa in 2019, England and Australia played the opener in 2015, and in 2011, India played Bangladesh. Isn't it sensible that the hosts should start because it guarantees a full house and give the tournament an immediate lift," Atherton said.

Shastri cited a match that could have pulled more audience in. "Absolutely, especially in a ground like this, which has a capacity of 1,10,000. I understand you want one of the former finalists to play, but at all costs, have a home team play. If this was India vs England, you would be guaranteed a full house. Even on a weekday, at least 70000-80000 people would have come in. It just adds that buzz. There is a build-up," he said. Notably, more than 45000 people attended the opening match between England and New Zealand, which made the best attended World Cup opening game.

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