The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup got off to a muted start in India early today (Thursday) with what seemed to be a very limited crowd.
England faced New Zealand at Narendra Modi Stadium, a 132,000-capacity venue in Ahmedabad. There was a limited number of fans in the stands to watch during the day, with those watching at home taking to social media to complain about the quiet atmosphere.
Even England cricketer Danielle Wyatt said on X: “Where’s the crowd?!”.
However, it improved as the game moved later in to the day, as fans may have also tried to avoid the 34 degree heat.
The Guardian also reported that there were some issues with international fans having to travel to a hotel 20 minutes away from the stadium to collect their tickets, meaning further delays to attendees arriving. The article also reported that some 45,000 tickets had been sold for the match, which still would have looked small compared to the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium.
Organisers will be further questioned over the decision to start the tournament on a working weekday, and without the hosts India.
New Zealand went on to beat England by nine wickets.
— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) October 5, 2023
Leading up to the event, there had been complaints from fans around the delayed release of the fixture schedule and late ticket onsales. The fixture list was released on June 27, just 100 days before the World Cup was due to start.
However, organisers then released a revised schedule in August, complicating things further for fans.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) named BookMyShow as the official ticket platform of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in August.
Match tickets eventually went on sale in a phased format some 41 days out from the opening day.
While some fans were left disappointed by long queues, pre-sale tickets for India matches were snapped up in minutes through BookMyShow.
The cricket tournament will run until November 19.