India vs South Africa: Points at stake but few takers for Ranchi Test
Less than 1500 tickets have been sold two days before India and South Africa start what would be Ranchi’s second Test in the format’s 142-year history. The swank stadium in the JSCA International Sports Complex can seat 39,000, said Sanjay Sahay, the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) secretary. “If there is any demand, it is for daily tickets in the hospitality area priced at ~2000,” said Sahay. The daily tickets prices range from ~200 to ~2000 and the cheapest season ticket costs ~1000, he said.
The state association has distributed 5000 tickets among para-military forces, the army, local police and National Cadet Corps, said Sahay. Interest in the third Test of the Freedom Series, which India lead 2-0, would have spiked had the MS Dhoni been playing. But even then it wouldn’t have exceeded 20,000, said Sahay. Dhoni had already retired from the format by the time Ranchi hosted its only Test, against Australia in March 2017. When Ranchi hosted an ODI against Australia last March where Dhoni played, it was a full house.
Sahay and JSCA president Nafis Akhtar Khan are part of the new committee which took charge after elections on September 22. “The advantage of staging this match is that we could check whether everything, from the pitch, the lights, the fire arrangements are working. It is because of this Test we have also got the (50-over knockout) Deodhar Trophy (October 31-November 4),” said Sahay.
As president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), Sourav Ganguly had organised India’s first four-day match under lights with a pink ball in 2016. Since then, despite an unwilling India team, Ganguly has spoken of the need for day-night Tests as a way to arrest the sharp slide in attendance.
With Ganguly set to take over as BCCI president, would JSCA pitch for a day-night Test? “We will have to do something to keep this format relevant,” said Khan. So, even with World Test Championship points at stake—India stand to gain 40 points if they win here—the stands are yet to respond to ICC’s innovation to make every Test count.