The third and final ODI between India and Sri Lanka on January 15th raised serious questions about the relevance of the 50-over format, as poor attendance at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram resulted in many empty seats.
Former star Yuvraj Singh also expressed concerns about the lack of interest in one-day cricket. The match was rendered inconsequential after India took an unassailable lead by winning the first two games of the heavily one-sided series. With India scheduled to host the ODI World Cup later this year, the many empty chairs at the stadium did not make for good viewing.
Former cricketer Yuvraj Singh took to Twitter to express his concerns, saying “But concern for me half empty stadium? Is one day cricket dying?”.
Kerala Cricket Association media manager Krishna Prasad attributed the poor turnout to several factors, including “lack of interest” for ODIs. “We never had a half-empty stadium. There are several reasons. We don’t see much interest in ODIs nowadays,” Prasad said. “Moreover, the series was done and dusted in Kolkata (with India taking an unassailable 2-0 lead), and with the opponents being Sri Lanka many people chose not to come to the stadium.”
The stadium, which saw a packed house in its only other ODI, a rain-affected match between India and West Indies in 2018, wore a near-desolate look thanks to the lukewarm response from the locals.
Only about 20,000 spectators turned up in the 38,000-capacity stadium for Sunday’s match. Tickets were priced at Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 for the match. “Not a single ticket was left during the match against the West Indies. It was a rain-affected match and we didn’t get to see a full 50 overs of action, still, people packed the stadium,” Prasad recalled.
Barring Eden Gardens, where more than 55,000 people turned up, the series has been marked by low attendance. Even Guwahati, a place known to attract large crowds, was far from being a full house. The Barsapara Stadium, which witnessed a high-scoring match with India posting 373/7, welcomed about 25,000 people to a 38,000-capacity venue.