India take on South Africa in the third and final Test in Ranchi from Saturday with an eye on history. Leading 2-0, India will look to whitewash South Africa for the first time ever in a Test series but so far, only 3000 tickets have been sold.
Ticket counters started operating from October 15 but with India wrapping up the series with an emphatic victory in Vizag, there seems to be little interest for the dead rubber in Ranchi, MS Dhoni’s hometown.
There are no long queues and the ticket counters bear a deserted look.
Dhiraj and Faisal, who have come down to Ranchi all the way from Rajasthan to watch the final Test, stated the obvious: only die-hard cricket aficionados watch the five-day format. The majority of cricket fans are content with the shorter formats of the game.
However, since the ticket counters would be open on all 5 days of the Test, organizers expect better crowd turnout as the game progresses. They are hopeful of a 75 percent turnout over the next few days. There is fervour around the Indian team, though, as fans turned up in decent numbers to greet their heroes at the airport and at the team hotel. While a few players arrived in Ranchi on October 15, the others turned up the next day.
India captain and superstar Virat Kohli landed in Ranchi on Friday morning.
In 2017, when India hosted Australia in Ranchi, the situation wasn’t very different. There were low crowd turnouts when the game began but eventually, the ground was packed to its capacity on the weekend.
Meanwhile, both India and South Africa trained hard on the eve of the Test. India have been clinical and ruthless but South Africa need to improve dramatically if they hope to offer any resistance to their in-form hosts.
India are unlikely to make any changes to their team unless they decide to go in with extra spin. In that case, left-arm chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav could replace one of the pacers.