V. V. Subrahmanyam

Originally scheduled to commence at LB Stadium from November 7

Attendance poor for the first round matches in the city

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad is unlikely to host the final round of matches, including the semi-final, second final and the third (if necessary) in the Indian Cricket League championship, originally scheduled to commence at the floodlit Lal Bahadur Stadium from November 7.

Reason? First, the huge crowd response in Ahmedabad compared to a relatively poor attendance for the first round matches in the city and then the shock given by Sports Authority of A.P. to enhance the daily rental from Rs. 1 lakh on match days to Rs. 1.50 lakh. It is also said that a minimum of Rs. 30,000 per day as rental was demanded since August when the ICL management took over the entire venue for preparatory work. Officially, a final round of talks are scheduled between SAAP and ICL officials anytime but the teams originally scheduled to arrive here but directed to Ahmedabad was a clear hint of the change in the venue.

Kiran More, ICL Executive Board Director, informed that “as of now” no final decision taken in this regard. SAAP officials in the meantime feel that the ICL was trying to pressurise them by threatening to pull out for better bargaining on this front. Ironically, Hyderabad proved to be a jinxed venue this time around for ICL as the inaugural match under lights had to be abandoned due to power failure. The crowd response too was poor. Cricket fans also feel that disbanding the Rs. 300 ticket stand was a big mistake this time around.

Now, only Rs. 100 denomination tickets are available for almost entire stadium barring the VIP complimentary passes to the near and dear.

If the matches and finals were shifted from Panchakula to the city last time, it appears to be the turn of Ahmedabad now. Maybe, ICL might have to look for another new venue here next time to sustain the cricket fans’ interest.