COVID-19 prevention guidelines were violated blatantly as a sizeable number of spectators and local police were seen without masks before the start of the first T20I between India and New Zealand here on Wednesday, the first international cricket match in the country since the second wave of the pandemic.
No crowd restrictions were put in place for the series opener but spectators were allowed entry into the Sawai Mansingh Stadium with proof of vaccination or a negative RT-PCR test.
Though the Rajasthan Cricket Association was expecting the game to be a sell-out, not more than half of the 25000 capacity stadium was filled half hour before the start of the match.
The fans who made a beeline outside the stadium were excited about international cricket returning to the city after eight years but at least half of them did not care to wear a mask.
Many policemen guarding the facility were also seen without a mask.
"I have come here with my son since I got a complimentary pass. The food items sold here are very expensive," said a local resident Anil Gupta inside the stadium.
Asked whether his vaccination status was checked at the entry, he replied in the negative. He too did not wear a mask. A college student Mohit Shera too was roaming around without facial protection.
"I am here as an international match is taking place after a long time. I play myself and it is exciting to be watching the game," said Mohit who ran back to his seat when asked why he was not wearing a mask.
It is for the first time amid the pandemic that crowd capacity has not been capped. The India-England Test series earlier this year were played with a 50 per cent stadium capacity before the spike in cases forced the BCCI to hold the ODIs behind closed doors.