After selling just 1500 tickets for the third India-South Africa Test match to be played at Ranchi’s 39000-capacity stadium, the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) said it will have to “think twice before hosting a Test match” the next time.
The Indian Express quoted Nafis Khan, the new JSCA president as saying: “Next time, maybe we have to think twice before hosting a Test match. At the same time, we can’t say no also. If the state associations start rejecting Test cricket, the purest form of the game would die. It’s very sad to see empty stands. We have to make certain changes to the Test format.”
Reportedly, the low sales have come despite the association trying to keep ticket prices affordable with Rs 250 per day being the lowest. While there were only a handful of spectators who witnessed India's comprehensive victory over South Africa at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, it seems that something similar will take place at Ranchi as the hosts take on Proteas during the third and final Test.
In order to fill up the stands, however, the JSCA has distributed 5,000 complimentary tickets to security personnel and another 10,000 tickets to schools, clubs, and academies
Test cricket, often regarded as the ultimate test of a player's character, has long been in decline as a spectator sport. Empty stands during Test matches, combined with the popularity of limited-overs cricket, has certainly given cricket administrators something to think about.
Earlier, BCCI’s president-elect Sourav Ganguly had suggested taking a serious look at day-night matches as one of the means to improve the state of Test cricket.
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